5 Significant Ways to Celebrate Veterans
Volunteer at a Local VA Hospital or Nursing Home
Volunteering your time and energy is a great way to put action behind sentiment. As the number of aging U.S. veterans rises, so does the number of new VA hospitals and nursing homes. Find a local VA hospital near you and give back to the veterans and their families who have served you! Contact a local nursing home to see how you can participate in a scheduled Veterans Day celebration or simply distribute coffee, give gift baskets, or deliver care packages with comfort items like socks, blankets, and hygiene products. Ever small act of kindness and show of appreciation counts.
Adopt a Military Family for the Holidays
Military families are often faced with difficult challenges like limited income and resources, a deployed parent, or families of seriously injured veterans that go unnoticed. Help veteran communities, U.S. service members, and their families this holiday season by taking a practical approach. Find and participate in a veteran family adoption programs. Programs like Adopt a Family, sponsored by Soldiers’ Angels, provides civilians and companies with a safe and tangible way to support veterans and their families by to sponsor thoroughly vetted and approved families by giving gifts and groceries to assist with helping to make a delicious holiday meal.
Personally Express Gratitude
Finding the right words can be difficult for people who are unsure of what to say to veterans. Keep it simple and express your gratitude by saying “thank you for your service” to those in uniform or “welcome home” to those who you know have recently returned.
Greater words have never been spoken than by President John F. Kennedy, when he said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Supporting veterans can come in many different forms, but action always trumps words. Show your gratitude and support by attending a local community Veterans Day Parade or celebration. Recognize their service by serving in their stead at a local organization within your community. Find opportunities here:
Educate and Pass the Baton
Start with educating yourself on the people who have contributed to securing the freedoms you enjoy today. Put a face to the core values that can seem abstract like bravery, honor, and sacrifice. Read their stories or watch a documentary on how their dedication has impacted their life, your life and the lives of U.S. citizens. Here are a few to get you started:
- “With the Old Breed” by E. B. Sledge
- “Personal Memoirs” by Ulysses S. Grant
- “We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young” by Harold G. Moore and Joseph Galloway
- “Dispatches” by Micahel Herr
- “A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier” by Joseph Plumb Martin
Commit to never forget by sharing what you learn. Spend time with family and friends reflecting on the legacy of service that has secured the every-day freedoms we enjoy as Americans. These seeds full of gratefulness, honor, and respect for God, man and country will continue to grow from one generation to the next.