Veterans Day is Saturday, November 11. It is an important day to recognize and show appreciation to those who have and who are serving. Whether you are supporting a relative or friend or just those in the community, here are some ways to honor our military.
First, do not confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. Veterans Day is a time to thank those who have served and are serving that are still with us. Memorial Day is a time to reflect and honor those who have served and lost their lives in service to their country.
Now, simply show up. Check out any Veterans Day events in your area. Cheer at a downtown parade, run a 5k that benefits veteran foundations, or attend a festival supporting your local veteran’s affairs chapter.
If you live near a VA hospital, check to see if you can visit. Many hospitals have Veterans Day events or meals you can help prepare. Find out their policies for interacting with patients or volunteering and spend some time with a veteran. If you get a chance to visit with someone, ask about their service. Some questions to ask can be what they did in the military, how long did they serve, why did they choose to go into service, and what some of their favorite memories are. Do not ask about combat or push them to share things they do not want to.
If you are not able to get out, you can donate to an organization that benefits veterans. Disabled American Veterans (DAV) has more than 1.2 million members and provides many services including help with disability assistance, pensions, and job programs. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides a variety of services to veterans and their families. There are many ways to support WWP, including hosting a Supporter Event, sending letters to an injured service member, or making a donation in honor of a loved one. The United Service Organization (USO) provides support for active-duty troops. The holidays are tough for troops and their families. The USO offers a program called Operation Phone Home which delivers $50 prepaid international calling cards to troops allowing them to make up to 140 calls home.