Honoring Veterans for Veterans Day This Year

Honoring Veterans for Veterans Day This Year

Every year, on November 11, is a day where people in the United States honor those who have served our country. Everyone has their own way of celebrating the auspicious occasion, but what is the history behind this day?

Veterans Day was initially called “Armistice Day” in the U.S., dedicating the day to the signing of the agreement that ended World War I in 1918 at 11 A.M., on November 11 and was first celebrated by President Woodrow Wilson. In 1938, it became a legal holiday and in 1954, it was changed to “Veterans Day” to honor ALL the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States. Each year, special ceremonies are held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Now that you know the history behind Veterans Day, here are a few ways to celebrate it.

  1. If you personally know a veteran, write them a postcard or email to thank them for what they did for our country. Ask them where they served, where were they stationed, and what specific jobs they did while serving.

    Courtesy of Google Images
  2. If you’re not close to a veteran, write a thank you card and drop it off at a VA hospital. If you’re not in time for this Veterans Day, that’s fine; a thoughtful card is appreciated any time. Or, contact Operation Gratitude which sends letters of thanks and care packages to veterans as well as deployed vets.
  3. Place a small flag on every veteran’s grave. This is an annual tradition for many scout troops. In some states, there are “Operation Flags For Vets” organizations. Call your local cemetery first.
  4. Participate in the National Two-Minutes of Silence. In 2016, the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act became public law, designed to bring Americans together and provide an opportunity to reflect on veterans who have touched their lives. On November 11, all Americans are invited to participate in the observance of a two-minute national moment of silence based on their local time zone. Taking the time to pause quietly and join your thoughts with thousands of other Americans is a great way to ensure you remember the purpose of Veterans Day. Check the link below to see when your time zone’s 2-minutes of silence are.

    Courtesy of Google Images
  5. Participate in the VA’s #BeThere campaign. You may already be aware of the suicide crisis faced by U.S. veterans, with an estimated 20 veterans a day taking their own lives. Sadly, research has shown that almost 70% of those who commit suicide are suffering in silence, either disconnected to or unaware of the numerous support services offered through the VA. In response, the VA is redoubling its efforts to not only connect with at-risk veterans but to encourage other veterans and civilians to be aware of warning signs and take simple yet impactful actions to show their support and approachability in a time of crisis. The newly-launched campaign #BeThere includes a video narrated by Tom Hanks, praising the virtues of U.S. service members and encouraging all Americans to live by the code, “No Veteran Left Behind.” Simple acts like bringing by a meal or sending an email or text can be exactly what a struggling veteran needs to get him or her through a difficult moment. Additional resources included in the #BeThere website are crisis line contact information and social media tools to help spread awareness. For veterans, the site includes a comprehensive list of support resources, including free, 24-hour crisis phone lines, online chats, one-on-one coaching, and support based on branch of service. The Veterans Crisis Line number is 1-800-273-8255 (press 1), or text 838255.
  6. Visit Your Local Nursing Home or VA Hospital. As the population of U.S. veterans age, you’re likely to find more and more in your local nursing homes, both those run by the VA and also public nursing homes. Many facilities sponsor small parties or services to honor residents and their respective branches of service. Contact your local nursing home to see how you can participate, or, if nothing is planned, simply offer to provide your own small gesture like a basket of goodies or comfort items (blankets, hygiene, socks) for veterans living in the residence.
Courtesy of Google Images

 

7. Wear a Poppy or other Pro-Veteran Item. The story and symbolism of the red poppy reaches back to WWII when the famous poem, “In Flanders Field” noted how the red flowers were the first to bloom in the war-torn fields of France and Belgium. Today the symbolism remains popular in Europe and in many instances in the U.S. as well, and wearing a poppy throughout your day can help others remember the meaning behind Veterans Day.

Of course, we should acknowledge the commitment that our veterans have done not just one day, but everyday, be it wartime or peacetime. It was very brave of them to do what they did, and the amount of gratitude we give on November 11 should be just as equal as the gratitude we give to them every other day. Learning more about what you can do to help them is the best way to show that you care.

Sources:

https://www.veteranaid.org/blog/meaningful-ways-to-celebrate-veterans-day/

https://www.almanac.com/veterans-day#:~:text=Veterans%20Day%20was%20originally%20called,by%20an%20act%20of%20Congress.

https://www.veteransunited.com/network/honoring-those-who-served-11-ways-to-celebrate-veterans-day/