Veterans are among some of the most vulnerable of our population and yet these brave men and women often suffer in silence. While we recognize them with public holidays a few times each year, are we TRULY celebrating the sacrifices of our veterans?
On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, the nation celebrated Veterans Day. The public holiday, which began in 1919 as “Armistice Day” marked the first anniversary of the end of World War I. The History Channel says that Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.
School-aged children have often recognized the holiday by sending out cards or drawings to those currently serving or to local organizations committed to supporting veterans. But there is so much more we can be doing to remember those who were killed in the line of duty, thank those who are currently serving and honor those who have completed their service and are adapting to civilian life.
Life as a veteran is not easy. Just as there are visible battles to be waged, there are also invisible wars that are personal to each veteran, whether it’s a struggle with mental health, difficulty in finding a job or simply just adjusting to life as a civilian. But we can help! As community leaders, business owners, mentors, parents, caregivers and youth, there are things we can all do every day to support our veteran population, whether its meeting the bigger needs or simply putting a smile on someone’s face.
Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
Keep in touch with regular correspondence, like traditional letters, emails, texts and phone calls.
Put together a special care package that includes a few of the veteran’s favorite things.
Volunteer with an organization that is committed to assisting vets, like building a home or working with service dogs.
Donate to a local veterans organization, like American Legion or VFW.
Send a card.
Say thank you when in the presence of a veteran.
Create a special box for the upcoming holidays.
Participate in a parade.
Fly a flag correctly.
Visit a VA Hospital and share your talents in music, art, dance, etc.
Ask someone about their service and help them create a memory book.
Become a driver for veterans who are in need of transportation.
Drop off dinner.
Visit a war memorial or gravesite, placing flowers or flags.
Volunteer at a VA hospital.
Shop at a veteran’s business.
Help build ramps or make repairs to the homes of disabled veterans.
Collect warm clothing like socks, coats and blankets for veterans during the winter months.
Organize a school drive to gather hygiene products for veterans and active duty servicemen.
Any way you want to get involved would no doubt be appreciated. To all of our veterans – thank YOU for your service.