We should honor veterans year-round. After all, they made a tremendous sacrifice to protect freedom and democracy. President Eisenhower wanted to ensure that the citizens of the United States remembered those who served in the Armed Forces. In 1954, he changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Keep reading to find out how you can join the Veterans Day celebrations.
1- Show Up to Festivities
Contact your local VA office to inquire about events. Since it’s a federal holiday, it’s a great day for the entire family to honor those who served. Besides parades, consider taking part in a 5K walk/run. You may also plan to attend a candlelight vigil to commemorate veterans who have passed. If you can’t find an event in your immediate vicinity, organize one yourself. This can be as simple as convincing others to wear a red poppy. Or it may be as extravagant as hosting a banquet at an American Legion or VFW hall.
2- Give Challenge Coins
Some time ago, high-ranking officials passed out challenge coins. The coins acknowledged exceptional accomplishments and heroic actions. They convey the same sentiment today. People gift veterans challenge coins to honor their service. You can choose from many options, such as coins with the United States Armed Forces insignia. Or you can design a custom message. Gifting a challenge coin to vets on Veterans Day adds special significance. You can bet the recipients will treasure it forever.
3- Visit a VA Hospital or Retirement Home
Get permission from a nearby VA hospital or retirement home to visit veterans. Some facilities have planned celebratory events on Veterans Day. Activities include serving meals, listening to speakers, and having one-on-one conversations. Let the vets know how much you value their service. Consider bringing cards, gifts, or care packages. It also helps to prepare for individual talks. If you need a conversation starter, ask about the branch they served. Also, ask about their MOS (military operational specialty) and a favorite memory.
4- Donate Time or Money
You’ll find many veteran organizations happy to accept help. You can make monetary contributions to organizations like the National Veterans Foundation. Most foundations make it easy to donate online through their websites. You may volunteer at organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans or the Wounded Warrior Project. If you know a vet, consider treating him or her to a meal or helping with chores. Also, make and deliver care packages. Additional ideas include hosting a fundraiser for veterans in need or gifting a pet to a lonely veteran.
5- Fly the American Flag
The American flag signifies loyalty, honor, and respect. So imagine the pride veterans feel when they notice an American flag. It’s a simple act of patriotism that means a lot. Still, you must follow the rules. According to the U.S. Flag Code, an American flag should fly from a staff and never touch the ground. The code also mentions displaying the flag from sunrise to sunset. However, you may exhibit the flag at night with proper lighting. These guidelines ensure that the flag is always treated with the reverence it deserves and serves as a powerful symbol of the nation’s principles.