On November 11th, we come together to honor those who have put their lives on the line to serve and protect the country we love: military veterans. With more than 21 million veterans currently living in the United States, it’s important to recognize their selfless service for our freedom and their bravery in the face of danger. Without their bravery, this beautiful nation would be something completely different. Veteran’s Day is a great day to take some time to thank veterans for answering the nation’s call and to reflect on what answering that call meant for all of us. Alongside a simple and thoughtful “thank you” to the veterans you know, here are 5 more impactful ways to show gratitude for their valor.
1. Fly The Flag
The American flag is a living symbol of everything our country stands for. It’s a symbol of freedom, sacrifice and courage that veterans have rallied behind and will appreciate seeing. Fly it high and proud – but be sure to fly it properly. Here are a few guidelines on displaying the American flag from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs:
- When displayed from a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak (unless the flag is at half-staff).
- When other flags of states, cities or organizations are flown on the same staff, the U.S. flag should be at the top.
- When the flag is displayed horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union (the stars) should be in the uppermost corner and to the flag’s own right (to the observer’s left).
The most important part of flying the flag is to do it proudly and with gratitude. Display it outside so it’s visible to all and fly it high above the ground to show your appreciation for the service of veterans.
2. Visit a VA Hospital
Locate the local VA hospital in your community and take a couple hours out of your day to visit. It may seem like a small amount of time, but it makes a big difference to the veterans at these facilities. Some VA hospitals host events for their veterans that you can get plugged into, but there’s no harm in stopping by with lunch just to talk. Ask them to tell you stories about their time in the military – they probably have thousands of amazing stories that will keep you interested for hours! You can even bring your kids in to hear the tales; have the kids write letters and draw pictures thanking the veterans for their time in the service for an extra show of gratitude. The simple gift of time and an open set of ears is a great way to let a veteran know you truly appreciate their service.
3. Donate to a Charity that Benefits Veterans
Another way to make a meaningful impact on Veteran’s Day is to donate to a charity that touches the lives of veterans. Unfortunately, some veterans have fallen into a tough spot; a spot that no one deserves to be in – least of all the people who fought for our country. Thankfully, there are charities dedicated to helping the wellbeing of our country’s veterans. One of these foundations, The Haven From The Storm Foundation, raises money for veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. They hold an annual telethon that allows citizens to donate and help the cause. Another great charity is the Modest Needs nonprofit. They empower ill and injured veterans to keep them from falling into the cycle of poverty. A small sacrifice on your end can really benefit the life of a veteran who sacrificed everything for you.
4. Show Your Support
Show your support by showing up! Many cities have events on and around Veteran’s Day for the whole community. These are held to show the community’s appreciation for it’s local veterans. Any veteran’s event is a great time to bring friends and family together to honor those who served this country. So find out about the events in your city and get out there to show your support!
5. Treat a Veteran
If you have a veteran in your life, why not thank them for everything they’ve done by treating them to something special. Bake them an all-American apple pie, take them golfing, or give them tickets to their favorite game… Whatever you do, spend the day with them and recognize their bravery and sacrifice for your freedom. Extend this day to the family of veterans as well. This simple day has great meaning to all those impacted by the military. So take the time – and make their day!
Whatever you end up doing on Veteran’s Day, remember that a simple thank you is the least you can do to honor those who served our country. But if you do decide to treat a veteran in your life to a special day, come by Big R. We’re showing our appreciation by letting all veterans and active military take 11% off their entire purchase on November 11th. It’s a small way of saying thanks for the big sacrifices they’ve made.