Did you know that the U.S. has 16.5 million veterans, who make up about 6.4% of the nation’s adult population?
It’s important to honor these military service men and women, and Veterans Day is the perfect opportunity to do so. After all, veterans have sacrificed a lot so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have.
In this article, we’ll go over what Veterans Day is and give you a few ideas on how to honor a veteran on this special day.
Let’s get started!
What is Veterans Day?
Not to be confused with Memorial Day (which honors those who have died while serving in the military), Veterans Day is a day set aside to celebrate all those who served and are currently serving in the military.
Veterans Day originates with the armistice agreement that ended World War 1. After signing the agreement on November 11, 1918, President Wilson declared November 11 Armistice Day to honor WW1 veterans.
In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day to honor veterans from all wars. Now, it continues to be celebrated every November 11th.
How to honor veterans on Veterans Day
Now that you know where Veterans Day came from, here are some different ways you can use the opportunity to honor veterans:
1. Say thank you to a veteran
The simplest way to honor a veteran is to thank them. You can do this by visiting a veteran you know in person or calling them on the phone if you don’t live nearby. You probably know at least one person who served or is currently serving in the military.
You can also send a service member a heartfelt letter expressing your gratitude. A simple thank you can go a long way because it shows that you care and that you’re thinking of the veteran.
2. Send a veteran a care package
Another way to honor a veteran on Veterans Day is to send them a care package. Better yet, you can organize a care-package-making party. Identify a troop in need by visiting your local VA office and then prepare a care package for everyone in that troop. This is a great community and family activity that allows people of all ages to get involved, including children.
3. Invite a veteran to speak
If you’re a teacher, you could invite a veteran to speak to your class. Have them tell inspiring stories about their time in the service and have the students prepare a thank you for them. If you’re not a teacher, you can also help organize a special event at which to have a veteran speak.
4. Visit a VA hospital
Many veterans have suffered war injuries or are suffering from other diseases related to war, like Mesothelioma cancer due to toxins released from destroyed buildings. You can help these veterans by finding the nearest VA hospital and visiting with patients or volunteering. For example, many VA hospitals prepare a special lunch for veterans on Veterans Day that you can help out with.
5. Treat a veteran to a meal
Ask a veteran if you can treat them to their favorite meal or restaurant. While you enjoy lunch together, you can ask them a few questions about what they did in the military, when and how long they served, why they chose the branch of the military that they did, and so on. Treating a veteran to a meal is a kind gesture that gives you the opportunity to thank and learn more about them.
6. Donate to a veterans’ charity
There are many veterans’ charities out there. Some well-known ones include the Wounded Warrior Project and the USO. You can donate to one of these charities or others to help out veterans indirectly with your money. Every dollar counts.
7. Support a veteran-owned business
Another way you can support veterans financially is by buying from a veteran-owned business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 2 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. Find one in your community by asking around or using Google. Then make a purchase to show your support.
8. Attend a Veterans Day parade
Many communities will host Veterans Day parades. Check your local VA office for details. Then show up to cheer on the veterans that pass through. This is a great way to honor our military heroes.
9. Fly the American flag
Lastly, you can show your support for veterans by flying the American flag. Just make sure that you fly it correctly. Never drag the flag or let it touch the ground. Don’t drape it on things or display it under another flag. If the flag is worn or tattered, get a new one.
Then take the opportunity to observe a moment of silence. This is usually done for two minutes at 11:11 a.m. on Veterans Day.
As you can see, there are many ways to honor veterans on Veterans Day. Pick one or two that suit you and show a veteran you care. They will appreciate it, and you will feel more gratitude in your heart for the blessings you enjoy every day because of their sacrifice.