This year Veterans Day falls on November 11th. To some, Veterans Day is just an inconvenience because federal offices are closed or a bummer for parents because schools are closed. However, we should take a moment to consider our veterans, the sacrifices they have made and the honor they deserve. Here’s how you can honor a veteran on Veterans Day and all year round.
Honor a veteran by knowing your history.
Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank all of our neighbors and fellow citizens who served honorably in the military, whether in peacetime or during war. Their contribution has been immeasurable for over 200 years. However, November 11th became the official date for Veteran’s based on Armistice Day in 1919. World War I was such a traumatic war that President Wilson felt the day of the cease fire needed to be remembered for all those that fought for our freedoms during that war.
World War II witnessed the greatest mobilization of our all our military branches in the nation’s history and soon after the conflict in Korea. Veterans’ service organizations urged Congress to amend the Armistice Act and inserting the word “Veterans” for “Armistice.” Congress approved the law on June 1, 1954, and November 11th became Veterans Day.
This is just a snippet of the history of Veteran’s Day. You can learn more here.
Honor a veteran by understanding sacrifice.
Military.com shares with us the work of Mark Lee Greenblatt for Veterans Day. Greenblatt attempted to gain from veterans of the Iraqi-Afghanistan conflict a perspective of the sacrifices they made to be a military service-person. “I think American civilians have an understanding of what the men and women are doing overseas on an intellectual level,” he said. “What I wanted to do was bridge that gap and give them the granular details, the nitty gritty, of what goes on over there.”
This quote really does hit home. Do we really understand the years of family time missed, the hours of grueling training or the struggle of living with the traumatic things they have seen in their service to keep us free?
The Iraqi Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) website shares ideas of how veterans are supporting each other through their sacrifices, including the difficulties of reintegrating into private citizenship, family stress, job transitions and mental health services. They have several ideas of how those looking to aid our veterans can help.
Honor a veteran by acting locally.
This Veterans Day, show your gratitude by honoring a veteran that lives or works near you. Here are some great ideas that can have an immediate impact in the life of a veteran:
- Participate in Veterans Day 2016 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center: Celebrating Veterans and the Arts. This free event features performances by local artists, storytellers, dancers and singers. Manassas Chorale will perform at 10 a.m.
- If you are dining at a restaurant, discretely tell the waiter/waitress that you’d like to pick up the tab for someone in uniform.
- Volunteer with VA Voluntary Service. VA Voluntary Service is happy to have folks to help homeless veterans with job and housing applications or escorting veterans at the local VA hospital.
- Engage elderly veterans in conversations and games at your local nursing home.
- Supervise a book group or sponsor a documentary screening about the lives of soldiers at your local library.
- If you’re handy with tools, find out how to help a homebound veteran with small chores and repairs they need in their home.
It is important to remember this Veterans Day that we have our freedom due to the sacrifice of those that have asked for nothing from us. Thank an active member of the military or a veteran for their gift to you.
Our communities are proud to show appreciation for veterans! For information on the local Veterans Day parade, click here.
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