Veterans Day is an important holiday to be observed and celebrated annually, because it allows us to honor the people who have willingly sacrificed their lives for our country. It also offers a chance to give thanks to the men and women who serve in the military right now to protect our country.
Too many military-related holidays to keep straight? As a reminder, the United States commemorates military Service Members in various ways, on three different days each year, two of which are formally recognized as national holidays and widely celebrated.
Armed Forces Day (3rd Saturday in May) is a day paying tribute to those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) is a solemn day to honor those who died while serving in the military. Veterans Day (November 11), also known as Armistice Day, or the day an armistice was signed to end World War I, is a day to simply thank all veterans for their service. Both Memorial Day and Veterans Day are observed as federal holidays.
While it’s true that most veterans eschew any kind of formal doting over their military service, you may still wish to offer your support, solidarity, and gratitude. Below are 5 creative ways to honor a veteran:
Support a veteran-owned business
If you don’t already, Veterans Day is a great time to show your support to veteran-owned businesses. Whether it’s a local coffee shop or an online retailer, by supporting veterans you can often maximize the good your dollars are doing. Not only does your revenue help veterans, but also many of these organizations have core values of giving back. Companies like Black Rifle Coffee, Frag Out Flavor, and Oscar Mike not only employ veterans and send their products and goods to troops, but they also share their profits by pumping them back into veteran-friendly foundations. Click here to search veteran-owned businesses by state.
Acknowledge veterans in your workplace
Does your workplace have any special traditions to thank its veteran employees? If not, consider including some. Invite a veteran to lead the team meeting or take over the social media feed during a set time in November and share his or her lessons from military service. Create a company-wide service project for everyone to participate in. Send an intra-office email thanking those in the office who have served or create a visual display in the work break room. Do the veterans in your office prefer less of a spotlight? Then perhaps the gift of an extra day off from work or comp time might be a nice treat.
Visit a veteran
Does your local area have a V.A. hospital or assisted living facility? According to HonoringVeterans.org, “If you don’t have a local VA office, contact an assisted living or nursing home facility nearby. Chatting with elderly or injured veterans is a great way to brighten their day, plus you’re likely to hear some highly fascinating stories about their time in the service. Take flowers or an activity they could do in bed.”
Whether it is sending a care package to deployed troops or simply writing and mailing a letter or card of thanks, there are many ways to send your gratitude through the mail. You could create your own care package or go through an organization like Troopster, which offers personalized buy-and-ship military care packages. Project Giving Kids even has an app with an entire section on getting teens involved in supporting veterans. Operation Gratitude and the USO’s Campaign to Connect are great resources as well to help you get started on sending happy mail to veterans. Still unsure of where to send mail to service members? Use AnySoldier.org to access a database of over 40,000 contacts that is updated daily.
Financially support a vetted organization
The non-profit, Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), “Provides critically needed support to disabled and at-risk veterans who leave the military wounded—physically or psychologically—after defending our safety and our freedom.” This organization offers a one-stop resource that links to many credible organizations that provide help to some of veterans’ most pressing problems. With categories like recreational therapy, service dogs, family and caregiver assistance, mental/physical health, homelessness, employment, and resilience, there are many ways to put your dollars to work for a cause. From planned giving, one-time gifts, to corporate sponsorships, DVNF “engages with programs for Service Members and Veterans across the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, other U.S. Government agencies, and associated organizations.”