Teenagers carry caskets of homeless veterans. Corporations donate materials and labor to build homes for severely wounded service members. Coaches develop adaptive methods to allow amputees to feel the thrill of racing down a mountain. These generous acts of individuals and charities around the country exemplify the gratitude our nation feels to those who have served to defend our freedom and way of life.
Detroit Jesuit High School volunteers serve as pallbearers at a funeral of a homeless military veteran at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich. The new service project at the high school isn’t the typical volunteer experience at a soup kitchen or nursing home. More than 50 University of Detroit Jesuit High students have signed up to serve as pallbearers at the funerals of homeless men and women.
VAIL, CO - JANUARY 29: Double-amputee Kevin Pannell snow boards toward a ski instructor through a half pipe on January 29, 2010 in Vail, Colorado. Pannell, from Portland, Oregon, lost both legs in a grenade attack when his Army patrol was ambushed by Iraqi insurgents in 2004. He was part of a group of a dozen war wounded and their families participating in the Vail Veterans Program winter ski retreat. The program is designed to help severely wounded U.S. military forces rehabilitate and rebuild confidence through learning to ski and snow board. Some of the wounded are flown in directly from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The visits to the Rocky Mountain retreat have been incorporated into Walter Reed's rehabilitation program for troops who have suffered from traumatic injuries, including amputations, brain damage and other severe wounds, most of which sustained in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
From left, retired Army Cpl. Steve Martin, Army Sgt. Tom Block, Medal of Honor recipient retired Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Master Sgt. Leroy Petry and retired Army Sgt. Ralph Cacciapaglia, pose in front of an HH-60 medical evacuation helicopter during a visit to the Dustoff ramp April 16, 2015 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. The visit was conducted as part of Operation Proper Exit, a program developed to provide closure for service members severely injured in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz/released)
In 2004, Shauna Fleming founded A Million Thanks—a letter writing campaign allowing civilians to express their gratitude to those serving overseas. In just 6 months, she achieved her goal of one million letters. To date, A Million Thanks has distributed more than seven million letters U.S. troops stationed around the world. (Kaitlyn Smith)
MANASSAS, VA - SEPTEMBER 29: Wounded warrior U.S. Army Specialist Jay Briseno (Retired) (C) and his parents Joe (L) and Eva Briseno get settled into their new residence September 29, 2014 in Manassas, Virginia. Briseno became a quadripelgic after being shot in the head while serving in Iraq in 2003 and his parents have worked full-time to care for him since then. The Quality of Life Foundation, Azalea Charities and Helping A Hero worked together to raise $570,000 in labor, materials and contracting to build the home with an accessible bathroom with a roll in shower, lift system, a home therapy room and a screened-in porch and deck. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO - AUGUST 23: ***EXCLUSIVE*** PFC Josh Stein, 22, is pictured learning to waterski, part of a program run by local NGO "Warm Springs" They run an adaptive ski program for people with disabilities on August 23, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. Stein is a double amputee rehabilitation patient at Brook Army Medical Centre on August 23, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. He lost his legs to an EFP explosion in Iraq on Easter Sunday 2006. Stein was a Bradley driver at the time. The explosion ripped through the armoured vehicle and removed his legs. Stein still had the presence of mind to drive the vehicle out of the attack zone and park it before he passed out. He is one of the most positive patients BAMC have ever had, therapists say that his rate of recovery in such a short time is unprecedented. Stein has a wife and two baby girls, the youngest was 10 days old at the time of his incident. PFC Stein plans to study psychology as soon as he is well enough so as he might counsel other people in his position. Brooke Army Medical Centre is one of the most advanced facilities in the world for the healing and rehabilitation of amputees and severe burn victims. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Exclusive by Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 27: Military children pet therapy dogs before releasing balloons into the air carrying hand-written notes for their lost parents at the TAPS "Good Grief Camp" on May 27, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia.. Five hundred military children and teens, most of whom had a parent that was killed in the Afghan and Iraq wars, attended the annual four-day "Good Grief Camp" in Arlington, Virginia and Washington, DC, which is run by TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). The camp helped them learn coping skills and build relationships so they know they are not alone in the grief of their loved one. They met others of their own age group, learned together and shared their feelings, both through group activities and one-on-one mentors, who are all active duty or former military service members. Some 1,200 adults, most of whom are grieving parents and spouses, also attend the National Military Survival Seminar held concurrently with the children's camp. The TAPS slogan is "Remember the Love. Celebrate the Life. Share the Journey." (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)