Honoring our Veterans

Release Date: 
11/10/2015

Since the birth of our Nation, American patriots have stepped forward to serve our country and defend our way of life. With honor and distinction, generations of servicemen and women have taken up arms to win our independence, preserve our Union, and secure our freedom. These heroes have put their lives on the line so that we might live in a world that is safer, freer, and more just, and we owe them a profound debt of gratitude. On Veterans Day, we salute the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have rendered the highest service any American can offer.  With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, November 11 of each year is set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.

Veterans Day is an important day for showing appreciation to members of our military, past and present. If you're looking for an appropriate way to honor a veteran in your life, or would like to contribute in a way that's meaningful for veterans everywhere, here's a list of 8 suggestions to start you off.

1. Show Up

Girl scouts at Veterans Day Parade

Attend a Veterans Day event in your area -- not just a picnic with friends but an honest-to-goodness parade or service for veterans. Roy Rogers said, "We can't all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." Veterans Day is a great opportunity to do just that.

2. Ask someone about their service

Service member speaks with veteran

It seems like we all know someone who has served and Veterans Day is a great time to ask them about their service. Some questions to get started are: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service? Did anyone else in your family serve? Why did you choose to go into the service branch you did? Do not ask if they've killed anyone and should your veteran be a combat vet who is either unwilling to share or plainly states what they went through, be supportive without being intrusive. Sometimes you don't have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.

3. Fly a flag - correctly

Raising the US flag

Veterans Day is a great opportunity to fly the flag! Just make sure you're observing the proper rules for display. Not sure exactly what those are? Check out Military.com's guide to the flag.

4. Donate

Veteran at Disabled Veterans America event

There are a plethora of wonderful organizations who offer all manner of support, services and appreciation for our service members. To get a few ideas for donations, you can check out this page.

5. Write

Child writing greeting card for service member

If you know a veteran, write a simple postcard or e-card that recognizes them on Veterans Day. If you don't know a veteran, look up the closest military installation and send one there. Small acts of recognizing someone's service, even anonymously, are appreciated.

6. Don't Confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day

Memorial Day parade in San Angelo

Veterans Day is a time to thank those who are serving or have served and are still with us. Memorial Day is to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. Confusing the two or combining the two diminishes the importance of both.

7. Visit a VA Hospital