Veteran’s Day is a special day in which we honor those who currently serve, and once served, our great nation. It’s for those who wrote their own Will as young as 18, and swore before God that they will serve, protect, and sacrifice. It’s for those who promised to put everything on the line, up to and including their own life, to defend the United States of America. Today and everyday, we honor the choice that this 1% has made. Today and everyday, we thank them.
It’s hard to imagine the bravery, courage, and selflessness that these men and women carry within themselves. It’s even harder to find the words to thank them for what they have all done for us. But sometimes words just aren’t enough. There are many things that all of us can do today, and every other day of the year, that can show our gratitude for their sacrifices, and remind them of the support that they will always have from us. Here are some ways that you can say “Thank You”.
Spend the day with a Veteran
Rather than trying to say thank you, just listen to someone else’s story. Ask a veteran about their service, and what life was like before they joined the military. Ask them about what it is/was like to serve when they were in, and what current events were going on at the time. Ask them anything that you feel they would be comfortable answering.
This is a great way to be involved and relate to others within your own community. Too often, we don’t realize what’s going on around us and the ways that we can interact better. Sometimes, people find more gratitude in someone listening to them than they ever could from a gift.
Visit a VA hospital
Donate your time, and go see what you can do to help at your local VA hospital. Many veterans don’t receive any visitors, even today, so it’s time that we change that. Bring them a newspaper and talk for a while. You can even ask the nurses if they’re short on any necessities that you could raise money for or donate. Start making these visits a regular occurrence, and encourage others to do the same.
Visit your local VFW
Many communities have a VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) club nearby, but people assume that you can only go in if you’re a veteran. This isn’t true! Anyone can go on, which serves as a great opportunity to meet veterans and listen to their stories.
Many veterans go to these clubs because it’s a place that they can meet other veterans, and feel comfortable in an environment that’s already familiar to them. Introduce a veteran that you know to the VFW if they haven’t already been there. They may not be aware of the community that has formed there, and it could help them to feel like they have people to talk and relate to during difficult times.
Participate in your local parade
Whether you’re making signs, or you’re walking in the parade itself, get out there and show your support. This is a very proud day for many veterans, and it also serves as a time to honor those who are currently overseas. Maybe even film the parade, and send it to a veteran you know that’s deployed. This is also a great way to help children to understand the meaning of Veteran’s Day, or how it’s different from Memorial Day.
Fly that flag
Whether it’s an American flag, state flag, or division flag, fly it proudly and properly. Make sure it’s not touching the ground in any way, and is secured so that it won’t end up dismounting. For tips on how and when to hang the American flag, go here.
Find an organization near you or on the web, and make a donation. You can also look into local fundraisers that are coming up, and put them on the calendar. Or even make your own fundraiser! There are all kinds of great organizations, so it’s easy to find specific objectives if desired. Go here to explore organizations that are raising money for our veterans.
Adopt a soldier
Through the organization, AAUSS (Adopt a U.S. Soldier) you can send postcards, care packages, and letters to one soldier throughout the duration of their deployment. Some soldiers don’t have anyone writing to them, or sending them necessities. This is a great way to remind them that someone has their back, and can help to provide them with the support they need to make it through this tough time.
Make your own care packages
Get together with some friends and make small care packages to donate. You can collect the basic necessities, or add some special items as well. Check out my post Best Items For Your Care Package for ideas on what to send. You can also send these packages to a local FRG (Family Readiness Group) or other organizations that will ship them overseas. If you have some soldiers in mind to send them to, you can go to the USPS site for discounted rates for military care packages.
There are some organizations already in place, such as Military Missions and Operation Gratitude, which both send care packages to soldiers overseas. They are always looking for donated items so that they can send as many care packages as possible. You can find a list of what they recommend here.
Honor our deployed K9s
Soldiers come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them are four-legged. These dogs are often used as a front line, going into the chaos first to ensure the safety of our men and women. They sniff out bombs, as well as the enemy itself, and they save more lives than we will ever know. They become our loved one’s companions, and are a huge part of keeping them safe. So in turn, we must protect them too.
Just like our soldiers, these K9s have some necessities overseas that make it easier for them to do their job efficiently and as comfortably as possible. The article, How To Send A Care Package To A Dog Serving Overseas, lists some of the items that these dogs need, as well as how to get them there. You can visit The United States War Dog Association, Inc. for more details on how you can help.
What are you doing to say Thank You this Veteran’s Day?