As Veterans Day fast approaches, it's important to take the time and reflect on the significance of this observance to honor the brave servicemembers who've answered the call of duty. Let's take a closer look at the history of this federal holiday before diving into some ways you can participate.
From Armistice to Veterans Day
The first Veterans Day was celebrated on November 11, 1919 — however, the holiday didn't always go by that name. Following the end of the first World War, President Wilson commemorated the 11th day of the 11th month as Armistice Day; but it wasn't until 1926 that the United States Congress officially recognized the holiday.
After World War II, President Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation, both renaming the observance and shifting its focus to honor all of our nation's veterans.
How To Observe Veterans Day and Honor Our Nation's Heroes
Whether you have a servicemember in your life or you're looking for more ways to show your gratitude this Veterans Day, here are a few ideas to honor our veterans:
1. Take a Moment of Silence
Each year on Veterans Day, there are two minutes set aside for a moment of silence to honor those who have served and their family members at 2:11 PM EST.
2. Extend Your Gratitude
If you know a veteran or meet one, don't forget to thank them for their service. Even this simple expression of appreciation can have a huge impact.
3. Send a Letter or Care Package
Consider sending a personal letter and care package to our servicemembers. Who doesn't appreciate a nice note and fun treats every once in a while, especially while you're away from home?
4. Assist a Veteran You Know
If you have a veteran in your life, be sure to check in with them and see if there's anything you can help them with.
5. Support Military Families in Need
Even if you don't know a military family personally, there are plenty of organizations, like Soldiers' Angels, that allow you to lend a helping hand to families in need.
6. Help Unhoused Vets
Nobody deserves to live on the streets, but especially those who have served our country. Contributing your time or money to organizations like U.S. Vets can go a long way in helping unhoused veterans get back on their feet with a roof over their heads.
7. Make a Donation
If you're feeling generous, consider making a donation to any number of veteran organizations. For example, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a great nonprofit offering life-changing support to our nation's heroes.
8. Volunteer Your Time
In addition to U.S. Vets and DAV, there are countless other nonprofits and charities that are in need of helping hands. Volunteering your time at these organizations can be a great way to give back and serve those who have already served.
9. Support Veteran-Owned Businesses
Beyond helping veterans through charity organizations, you can also lend your support to businesses owned by servicemembers. Whether it's a local store or a national brand, providing this economic support is crucial to keep these businesses thriving.
10. Visit a Veteran Memorial
Finally, you can pay your respects to the brave servicemembers who gave the ultimate sacrifice by visiting a local or national veterans' memorial. Feel free to leave a small token of your respect in a fountain or on a gravestone, and consider donating if the memorial has the option.
While our list stops there, that doesn't mean yours should! Don't be afraid to get involved with your local community and find out more ways you can help give back to our nation's heroes.