“They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered.”
Did you know that March 13th is K9 Veteran’s Day in many cities and states across the U.S.? It’s true. A movement was started by Joe White, a former military dog handler, to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our canine heroes. The quote above is their motto.
During Joe’s time in Vietnam, he saw canine heroes perform many vital tasks that no human could. He witnessed firsthand just how valuable these dogs were to our troops and how much they contributed to keeping our soldiers safe.
Many of these courageous canines lost their lives to protect and serve, but their only place of remembrance, until now, was in the hearts of the soldiers. Joe’s home state of Florida was the first to proclaim March 13th as K9 Veteran’s Day.
Other cities and states soon followed, including San Diego and New Jersey. Joe’s untimely death in October of 2009 has not stopped his effort to get more cities and states on board to honor not only the brave military and war dogs, but also K9s working for the Police, Customs, Secret Service, Border Patrol, Airport Security, FBI, Search and Rescue, and more.
Since Joe’s passing, his wife Sally has carried the K9 Veteran’s Day crusade forward. The goal is to have all 50 states plus at least 500 cities and towns proclaim that these K9 heroes deserve to be celebrated and remembered on their special day.
K9 Veteran’s Day is an opportunity for us all to recognize and pay tribute to all of the canine heroes who selflessly serve to make our nation a better place.
Dogs have served alongside our soldiers since WWI. Whether purebreds or mixed breeds, our troops do not care; they’re simply grateful to have the assistance of these fellow four legged soldiers.
Why March 13th?
The official birthday of the United States K9 Corps is March 13, 1942, so it seems fitting to annually recognize the dogs’ service on that date.
To learn more about the K9 Veteran’s Day movement to honor these incredible working dogs with their own special day, visit k9veteransday.org.
Top photo: Staff Sgt. James Selesnick
Bottom photo: Tech. Sgt. Stephen Hudson
Read more articles by Julia Williams