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5 Ways to Honor Veterans on Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day: a day to honor those who fought for us in war, died for our freedom, and those who returned home to a different life. America’s first Veterans Day (then called Armistice Day) occurred on November 11, 1919. The first time it was celebrated as a national holiday ways in 1938. Year after year, it was followed by huge celebrations, parades, and more… for awhile. Over time, the meaning of Veterans Day has been lost in politics and debate. Some years even, this day has been used as a means of protest over war.

We live in a country where our political beliefs can be challenged and debated by our fellow citizens. This freedom, is something our veterans have fought for. Whether you believe current or past wars were unjust, or you think they were a necessity, today is a day to put aside our differences and give thanks to those who sacrificed so much, so that we could go about our days in peace. Below are 5 ways to honor our veterans both young and old, this holiday.

  1. Visit a Local Nursing Home - We are living in a time of war, so it’s true that there are veterans of all ages, and nursing homes focus on treating and rehabilitating anyone in need. Visit your local nursing home or assisted living facility and find a common room. Reach out and start a conversation with the residents. Ask about their experiences during war times and do the most important thing anyone can do: listen. Make sure you thank any veterans you come into contact with. It may seem like a small gesture, but it will mean a lot.
  2. Help Out at a Local Homeless Shelter - It’s an unfortunate reality that many of our homeless are veterans. They fought and survived a harsh war and returned home to a lack of support. Regardless of what led them to their situation, everything they did for the country deserves recognition and honor. Volunteer to serve food to the homeless today. Say “Happy Veterans Day” with each meal you hand out. Maybe a conversation will start, maybe it won’t, but you will definitely impact a lot of lives.
  3. Attend a Local Celebration - While Veterans Day celebrations are not what they used to be, they still exist. Check your local news and blogs to find out if there is a Veterans Day celebration in your area. There are many putting a lot of time into creating these celebrations, to honor their loved ones and possibly even cope with death. They will want as many people there as possible because Veterans Day is a time for camaraderie.
  4. Send an Electronic Thank You - Veterans Day is a national holiday, but not a national day off from work. This means that many of you might be working today, and unable to do numbers 1-3. Luckily, we live in a digital world where you can say thanks across many channels. Go to Facebook and post a thanks to the walls of veterans you know, send an e-card to a loved one, or write an email about your thoughts on this holiday and send it to everyone you know. Ask them to send it to everyone they know.  You’ll be surprised how fast it spreads online.
  5. Make a Donation - Our men and women in uniform don’t have a lot. They need better gear on the front line and better support at home. Making a donation to the USO can help benefit veterans in all stages of their service. While this is something that can be done whenever you have the opportunity, today is a day that gives reason to be extra generous.

Hopefully these ideas give you the chance to honor this important day.

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