West Chester asks residents help honor locals for Veterans Day: How to get involved

Veterans and first responders salute as members of VFW Post 7696 raise the American flag over Chesterwood Village during its Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Patriot Day remembrance ceremony. CONTRIBUTED
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Veterans and first responders salute as members of VFW Post 7696 raise the American flag over Chesterwood Village during its Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Patriot Day remembrance ceremony. CONTRIBUTED

West Chester residents and stakeholders are invited to say “thank you” to United States service men and women this year by recording a brief video message that will honor local American heroes.

“This is something you’re seeing more and more of this year. People are taking their events and programs, virtually, so that everyone can participate in safe and healthy manner. So, we took that concept and applied it to Veterans Day,” said Drew Reeder, public information coordinator for West Chester Twp.

This is a remote way to pay tribute to an area service member or a loved one. By recording and submitting a brief 5 to 10 second video, participants can honor or recognize a spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, friend, neighbor, or a loved one who has selflessly served our country in the United States Armed Forces.

Typically, the community hosts in-person events to recognize veterans such as the Memorial Day parade with a setting of the flags, which is primarily organized by the VFW and The American Legion. Another annual event is the Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance, he said.

West Chester has taken several big events virtual. For example, there was a nine-part, virtual Touch a Truck series that has been made available on the West Chester Township YouTube channel. Online parks programs for children have also been popular, including the monthly Nature Basket program with a story time, a seasonal talk about nature and a craft.

“We saw great community engagement with the Virtual Touch a Truck as well as our Parks programs this year, and we thought this was another opportunity to do just that,” Reeder said.

In addition to the continued community engagement, he also said it’s a way to show love and support to those who serve our country.

“We appreciate sharing with our veterans any words of support and encouragement. It doesn’t matter if the person you want to thank is a specific individual, who is special in your life, or if it’s a broader thank you to our troops. It doesn’t matter if that person has served, is currently serving, or is in line to give back and serve their country. We want to make it as broad and as open as possible to make it as accessible to as many of our community members as possible,” Reeder said.

Participants are encouraged to record their videos, horizontally, and may invite others to participate in the recording. The endeavor is being promoted throughout West Chester Twp. to the community at large through posters and flyers. Township employees have also been invited to submit videos to honor and thank veterans.

Veterans recognized by members of the community do not need to live in West Chester. Video clips may be submitted online, or by email at westchestertownship@gmail.com.

The deadline to submit a video is by midnight on Nov. 6. Veterans Day will be recognized on Nov. 11. A final video, paying tribute to all the local veterans, will air on West Chester’s website, social media pages – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as on public access TV channels, beginning on Veterans Day 2020.