November 11 was set aside as a special day of tribute, a day to recognize all the men and women, past and present, who served honorably in our armed services to protect our country and way of life during way or peacetime. It is a day of thanksgiving for the American veterans who served or serve on our behalf.
“Our veterans deserve our lasting gratitude and respect. Each and every American veteran has had a significant role in shaping America’s past, our present and undoubtedly, our future. Though we cannot repay them for their many sacrifices, we must show our appreciation through whatever means possible,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander-in-Chief John W. Stroud in his 2014 Veterans Day Greeting.
So how can you and your family show your appreciation this year by taking part in Veterans Day activities?
- Take the time to learn the history of Veterans Day and the different branches of the armed services. Talk about this at the dinner table or during a special family time together.
- If any members of your family–grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters–are veterans, share stories of their experiences in the military, or invite them over to tell these stories in person. You may learn things you never knew about these relatives, and don’t forget to tell them how proud you are of their service.
- Talk together to see if any of you know are some special ways you can recognize their service or be of help to them. Telling them in person or with a handmade card or handwritten note that you appreciate their military service is a very easy way–create these cards and notes at the kitchen table while enjoying a snack together.
- Visit your local VA hospital or nursing home to visit with and thanks the veterans who live there. This is a worthwhile way to show your gratitude to individuals who may not get many visitors as well as a wonderful way to teach your children about compassion. Just let these veterans talk, and really listen to them–that can be the greatest gift for both of you.
- Talk as a family about long-term projects in which to become involved on behalf of veterans. There are many worthy organizations helping veterans and their families with medical, physical, emotional and deployment problems–you can donate money or items to these groups, or you can get involved to offer hands-on help to raise awareness for their good causes. Helping veterans together also strengthens your own family bonds.
- Consider starting your own family project to help veterans–organize a neighborhood or school drive to collect items to send to the troops overseas. Hold a bake sale or car wash to raise funds to mail the items you collect.
- Be intentional about teaching your family about patriotism and the value of military service. Don’t wait for Veterans Day, Memorial Day and July 4 to talk about Old Glory and all it represents. Fly the American flag all year, thank the servicemen and women you meet, and be generous in your support of organizations to help them.
- God bless America!