Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.

Every year on Nov. 11, we as a nation collectively pause and show gratitude to all those who have dedicated their lives to keeping our country free and out of harm’s way. Veterans Day is a time to celebrate everyone who has served our country.

During family vacations to Washington, D.C., we always visited Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. More recently, we’ve added the stunning World War II Memorial, which opened in 2004 after years of effort by former longtime Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, a veteran of that conflict.

These memorials are among the most revered places in the United States, serving as poignant reminders of those who gave up their lives for their country. During our visits, we were also touched by the family members who came to pay their respects.

Photo of a service member and his child celebrating Veteran's Day.

Supporting the community of military families

While Veterans Day honors those who served in the military, it’s also important to remember their families. They uprooted their lives for base transfers, experienced long absences during tours of duty, and provided care and comfort when service members were injured or wounded.

We want to call out two projects that provide support to the military community, including the families.

Bob Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, who was also a former senator and secretary of labor, now runs The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which helps support over 5.5 million military caregivers. That includes their spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans. Her work is near and dear to us as the mission is close to our hearts. (Jim also had the pleasure of getting to know Elizabeth as they served on the Gateway board together.)

And, first lady Jill Biden has recently revived a decades-old initiative, Joining Forces, which is a government-wide commitment to those who serve in the military and their families, caregivers, and survivors. Its goal is to focus on employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for military families, and the overall health and well-being of these families.

Connecting with those who have served

On Thursday, let’s show gratitude for all military veterans and their loving and supporting community of families. Take time to think about all the people who have served that you know, whether it’s someone in your family or a colleague at work. Don’t think, “Do I know them well enough to reach out?” Call, text, write a note to express yourself in whatever way you choose. We promise: It will have the power to make their day.

Photo of a service member's family hugging during a Veteran's Day celebration.

Should there be a ‘year of service’?

We often talk about Israel as a hub for tech. We suspect one reason for its success is the country’s mandatory military service that teaches important skills like discipline, bravery, and commitment to a cause and to your fellow service people. Such skills are not only useful in a military setting but also in business.

Jim recently spoke to Dr. Dafna Bar-Sagi, executive vice president and vice dean for science at NYU Langone Health. She talked about her time in the Israeli army and how big of a role that had played in her life. Today, as chief scientific officer, she manages a team of 600 scientists, and she attributes much of her leadership abilities and success to those years in military service.

As a country, should we explore what a “year of service” might be? We’d love to hear from you, especially those who have served in the military or other service organizations like Teach for America, the Peace Corps, other social-service programs. Email your thoughts to celebrationspulse@1800flowers.com.

What service does for people

Last weekend, Jim had the chance to play golf with a few good friends. His caddy was a young man who Jim knows as his mom works at IGHL, home of our first Smile Farms campus. IGHL’s mission in concert with government, community leaders and the families of those they serve is to develop and implement innovative programs, services and support for people with intellectual disabilities so that they can realize their full potential, and become contributing members of their community.

This young man’s future will be impacted by his service. Jim recalls:

My caddy said that he just signed up for the Air Force and qualified for a special rescue unit. He also had the maturity to say that this would define his transition from youth to adulthood. I was impressed by his maturity and thought, should everyone define this transition as a “Year of Service” ?

Photos from Smile Farms annual event in New York City
We are proud to support Smile Farms, which provides meaningful work opportunities in agricultural settings to individuals with developmental disabilities. The organization’s mission is to build a movement that fosters a world where people with differing abilities are always fully included.

Smile Farms held its annual gala at the end of October. Our friend, Kevin O’Neill, was honored for his ongoing dedication to Smile Farm’s mission, and guests enjoyed entertainment from his daughter, Rory O’Neill, who was recently an American Idol finalist during the Hollywood round. Smile Farms’ Farmer of the Year, Christine Kunze. Christine was recognized for her commitment, positivity, and achievements at the Smile Farms at FREE: Skills Unlimited campus in Suffolk County, New York. This year they are leading the charge with peppers and are having a big role in our hot sauce production! A few hundred guests joined the gala in person and another few hundred attended via live stream. Our hybrid event was hosted by Raphael Miranda, NBC 4 New York meteorologist.

Jane Hanson, former NBC 4 New York anchor and communications coach, and Gus Rosendale, co-anchor of “Weekend Today in New York,” provided commentary and conducted exclusive interviews for viewers at home.

Daylight saving and an effective transition

Daylight saving time ended today, and we’re sure everyone is making good use of the extra hour. This can be a good opportunity to reset our routines, in addition to our clocks. We spoke to some experts who came up with some tips to manage the reset:

  • Use the Additional Time Well: With the additional hour, you can take a jog or you might reach out to a friend with whom you’ve been meaning to connect.
  • Regulating Your Circadian Rhythm: You can take a nature walk or even just make sure you get some extra daylight into your home while there’s still time.
  • Stick With What’s Working: Try to keep the things that are working well for you with your nighttime routine intact and remember to limit screen time, caffeine, and alcohol in the evenings.

All the best,

Chris and Jim

Author

Jim McCann is the founder and chairman of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. as well as a business leader, author, and philanthropist with a passion for helping people deliver smiles. Devoted to helping others, he also founded Smile Farms, a 501(c)3 organization that provides meaningful jobs in agricultural settings to young adults and adults with developmental disabilities.

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