A Bit of Veterans Day History
Veterans Day is a federal holiday honoring all military veterans and active duty service members. It encompasses those who have died, those who have served in the past and those currently serving today. The holiday was first established in 1919 under the name Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson declared the national holiday in commemoration of the end of World War I. The war is said to have formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice went into effect. The US holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Common Veterans Day traditions include parades, ceremonies, and tributes to show appreciation. Looking for a simple way to honor veterans this weekend, or anytime throughout the year? Here’s a small list of ways to show your support for those who have served and still serve our great nation.
Supporting Veterans, Active Service Members and Their Families
- Fly the Flag.
Displaying a US flag on Veterans Day sends a message of appreciation. No flag pole in your yard, no problem. Simply placing a small flag in a flower pot can express the same gratitude.
- Show Up, Stand Up, Smile, and Clap.
Show your support to the veteran community by attending a local Veterans Day parade. Cheer on those heroes who have made sacrifices to protect our freedom.
- Send a Card, Write a Note.
Whether you say thank you or thinking of you, the recipient will be grateful to receive your message. You may want to send your note to a service member you know, or you can send it to an organization like Operation Gratitude.
- Send a Care Package.
There are several ways to send care packages to troops around the world. Many organizations like Operation: Care and Comfort help you determine the best way to send the comforts of home to an appreciative soldier.
- Support your Local VA Hospital.
There are several ways to make a difference at a VA Hospital near you. Volunteer your time, donate money or donate non-monetary items like books, magazines, clothing and more. Visit VA.gov to find the nearest hospital or healthcare facility.
- Visit a Long-term Care Facility.
Stop by a nursing/retirement home in your area. Bring cookies, cards or handmade gifts. Most facilities will gladly welcome a visit and be able to connect you with veteran residents.
- Treat a Veteran to Coffee, Lunch or Dinner.
Maybe you know a friend, neighbor, relative or co-worker who served. Offer to buy them a meal or invite them over for a meal. If you see someone in uniform at the coffee shop, restaurant or drive-thru; simply offer to pay for their meal or coffee.
- Post Your Appreciation on Social Media.
Take a moment to share your gratitude on any social media platform. Be genuine and respectful of all service members and veterans.
- Say “Thank You”.
If you see someone in uniform or wearing an item that indicates they are serving or have served, take a moment to say hello and “thank you”.
There are several ways you can volunteer your time and talents in the military and veteran community. Check out places like the USO and VFW for volunteer opportunities near you.