Whenever November 11th rolls around, are you actually considering what it means, or are you just remembering it’s Veterans Day and going about your day? It’s normal to have the latter attitude, but it’d be a shame if you never really ruminated on the meaning of the holiday. These are some meaningful ways you can celebrate Veterans Day.
Talking to Veterans
You probably know at least one person in the military. It could be a family member, a friend, or a coworker. If you don’t know any personally, you meet people through local veterans groups. See if they’d be available for speaking on or around Veteran’s Day. You can learn a lot about veterans this way, and many are eager to share stories. Don’t try to pressure them to tell you wartime stories, as many of these can events can be harrowing to recount. Be attentive to show you respect them.
Getting a handwritten letter or card in the mail can make you feel so very appreciated. Look for mailing services that let you write to veterans. You might be able to initiate some meaningful correspondence by first sending them a letter around Veterans Day and then keeping up communication. Knowing that people out there care about them could inspire veterans to feel filled with good feelings.
Two-Minutes of Silence
When you don’t know what to say, sometimes saying nothing can be the most powerful thing you do. Around the country, people observe Veterans Day by not saying anything for 120 seconds. This isn’t too long, but it’s enough time to start to reflect on what veterans have done for this country. You might even be moved to stay silent for even longer, such as the entirety of the day.
There are lots of organizations and charities associated with veterans that would love to have your support. You could get in touch with VA hospitals and see what sort of help they could use. Just being around veterans in a volunteer context can let you see how much they value your presence. Even though veterans likely know how many people think highly of them, seeing someone actually live by their words is a lot more meaningful.
Share Veterans Stories
With social media, you can get the word out about amazing veterans and what they’ve accomplished. You shouldn’t disclose anything that’s confidential. However, you can find many stories of veterans and what they’ve brought to the world, whether during their military service or after returning to civilian life. Look for stories that provide a positive representation of veterans that could upend some misconceptions that people have about veterans.
Although Memorial Day is the holiday associated with departed soldiers, Veterans Day can also be used for this purpose. It doesn’t even have to be limited to veterans who were killed in combat. Look for military cemeteries and memorial sites. You might have a family member who was buried at one or simply find one near you that lets you give your regards to many veterans. During your visit, you might see other people, including ones who are in mourning. Be respectful to them and give them the space they need to process their feelings.
Many veterans are in need of help for things like housing and healthcare. While there are charities for these purposes, supporting them means you support veterans. You should research charities and find ones that are about serving those they represent and not about lining executives’ pockets. You could also start making monthly contributions to certain charities.
Wear Something Special
If you want to remind people about the importance of Veterans Day without having to accost everyone one by one, you should don a piece of apparel that stands for veteran support. This could be a button, T-shirt, or a hat that speaks for veterans through words or symbols. You should take care to make sure whatever you wear is appropriate and that it doesn’t give the impression that you’re trying to pass yourself as being a veteran.
Spend the Day with a Veteran
Ask for the day off work in advance and invite a veteran for a day out. Many businesses offer discounts or free things to veterans, such as meals, on this day. You can really lift their spirits and let them see how great the world is. It’s also good to be engaging them regularly, not just when Veterans Day rolls around.
Veterans Day is officially celebrated once a year, but it can always be Veterans Day in your heart. One day is not enough to show all the support we have for veterans, but these methods can help to really enhance how much you care about veterans and let them see that your appreciation is not just a shallow acknowledgment. Throughout our history, veterans have fought for us and kept us safe. The very least we can do is spend some time with them or take meaningful actions to show that we care.