Veteran's Day is the perfect opportunity to take time to reflect on our past and honor those who served our country both in times of peace and war. Everyone does family history research for their own reasons. Maybe you do family history research because you think it's fun uncovering more about the past and bringing it to the present, maybe you feel a deeper connection to your roots when you get to know those who lived before you, or maybe you just think it's fun bashing through brick walls! Whatever your reason, genealogy is a rich and rewarding journey. By focusing our attention to those who came before us, especially those who served our country, we can develop a better connection to our own past, as well as the country's past. Although the reasons and ways are endless, here are 7 ways family history research honors your family's heroes.

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1. Keeps their stories alive

One of the best parts of family history research is learning more about the unique stories that exist in our past. Stories are what bring families together, what keep friendships alive, and what keeps us motivated to continue uncovering more. Stories are what bring those birth years, those locations, those dates all alive. Without the stories, it's difficult to contextualize all the data you've collected. Stories inspire and stories sustain.

2. It brings us closer together

Taking time to work on your family history with your living veteran relatives, will bring you two closer together. Taking the time to go through old photographs, medals, sharing stories, and looking through records, will bring you and your veteran family member closer through the act of uncovering his/her history and by bringing your genealogy research to full context. You may uncover draft records that your veteran relative may not have that reveals more details about their lives that they may have forgotten or spark additional stories from their time of service. If your veteran ancestors are no longer around, by uncovering their stories and sharing them with your other family members will bring you all much closer together. History and stories bring families closer together. Sharing your relative's story will help you all connect to the memory of the hero who served.

3. It gives us a sense of history

Discovering the military heroes in your family history will give you a better sense of history and historical events. Whether it's a distant ancestor who fought in the Civil War or a living relative who served in World War II, learning more about the individuals who contributed to history, gives us a better sense of the reality of the historical events, and humanizes the events. It's much easier to contextualize the history of our country through individual histories and accounts.

4. It gives us time to reflect

Family history research takes time and dedication. By setting time aside to research the military heroes who served in our family trees, will give us time to focus and reflect on the service they provided to our country. By dedicating time to their memory and uncovering every last detail in the records that we can find, gives us a chance to connect mentally and emotionally to their stories and service. Time and thought are the perfect ingredients to reflection. Set aside the time and reflect on those members in or outside of your tree this weekend.

5. It allows us to teach our children and family

By having a personal connection to our veteran ancestors in the records makes it easier to share their stories with our loved ones and teach them about the service they provided for our country. By uncovering the details of their service, such as their achievements, their branch, their rank, where they served, their physical descriptions, etc. will help us share their unique stories with our children and other family members. Inspiring our children and family members with the stories uncovered in our genealogy research might be the key to creating an interest for them to take part in family history research and carry the legacy of your family history on. Sharing your veteran ancestor's unique story will help educate our children, family, and friends about what our country has been through and the impact that one person can make.

6. It preserves their legacy

By keeping the records alive, by crafting a family history, and by sharing that history with others will preserve your veteran ancestor's legacy. Without sharing their stories, the memory of their lives fade. It is essential to keep our family history alive through sharing their stories and by uncovering as many details about their lives as we can. If we don't uncover the facts and stories of our ancestors, then we run the risk of letting them be forgotten. Preserving their legacy is one of the greatest things we can do to preserve, celebrate, and honor their service and lives.

7. It honors their sacrifices

Serving our country takes sacrifice and bravery. Sharing their story and bringing history to life helps us honor the military heroes in our family and allows us to realize and contextualize the sacrifices they have made to serve our country, that they have made to help write our country's history. Every individual contributes to our country's history and by taking the time to learn about the sacrifices our veterans have made is a form of honoring them and is a way of showing our respect for their sacrifice.

Take time this weekend to celebrate the heroes and veterans within and outside of your family for their dedication to our country and our country's history.

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