Do Us All a Favor and Thank A Vet this Coming Veterans’ Day!
If you’re living in the U.S., odds are you know a veteran. Every year, millions of Americans serve in our all-volunteer military service. They come from all walks of life. Rich and poor, all different genders, and races. Immigrants even joined the armed forces for a chance to become a U.S. citizen. They answer the call of sacrifice and duty to country that protects the freedoms we often take for granted.
Given the sheer number of people over the years who’ve served, you probably know several veterans. They’re our schoolteachers, they train us at the gym, they work at grocery stores, and run successful companies all across the United States.
So yeah, obviously, we shouldn’t just celebrate our veterans one day a year, but if you haven’t had the chance, use the holiday to show some love to the people who gave up time and being around the people they love for something bigger. Here are some great ways you can show love for our veterans this year.
Give Thanks by Understanding the Tradition of Service to Country
If you ask vets or active duty personnel, a lot of them will tell you that they tired, “Thank you for your service” can make their skin crawl. Sometimes it’s sincere, but so often it’s a canned line filled with political undertones.
Show a veteran you care by trying to understand what they’ve been through. Sure, you’ll never fully understand what it’s like to serve in wartime or be posted somewhere far overseas, but context goes a long way.
What Does Veterans Day Even Mean?
The U.S. has celebrated veterans since World War I ended in the early 1900s. On November 11 a year after the war, people flocked to the streets to celebrate peace, knowing the hell they’d been through. The holiday was initially called Armistice Day, but President Eisenhower changed it to celebrate all veterans.
America has been involved in the conflict for so long, that a lot of vets feel like what they do overseas is too far removed from normal American life. Unless you’re directly impacted, say, having a direct family member or close friend serve in a warzone, it’s hard to relate. A lot of the time they come home frustrated that normal people don’t understand what they’re doing over there.
We’re not out celebrating in the streets, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be showing thanks for what our soldiers, sailors, and marines are doing abroad. We’re lucky that current wars aren’t impacting us at home the way previous wars did.
When you meet a vet, the best way to thank them is to get to know them. If you know them, talk to them about their time in the military. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their time and what it meant. Don’t pry. Learn to take the subtle hints when something’s out of bounds. But don’t act like it never happened. Validate them with your interest.
Hold It Down for Our Vets
If you’re wondering what to do for our veterans this Veterans Day, there are tons of ideas. Here are a few good ones.
- Donate to a Good Cause – There are a ton of charities and service organizations focused on helping veterans find jobs, get therapy, find a place to live, and plenty more as they transition out of service. The money you give goes directly to helping the life of a veteran in need.
- Acts of Service – If you know a veteran, think of something you can do for them that they would enjoy. Get them tickets to the game or buy them some movie tickets. Take them out and treat them to a meal.
- Show Respect – You may not notice it, but most veterans pay attention to how people around them act concerning respect for the military and country. You may have strong opinions about certain political decisions but try your best to refrain from severe criticism if you’re around a veteran.
- Send a Care Package – You can mail a package of candy, clothes, electronics and other supplies to military personnel overseas for Christmas and other holidays. It’s easy to do and they love it.
- Show Your Vet Some Love – Hopefully, you noticed that we wrote “your vet” there. Some of us are extremely lucky to be in relationships or dating veterans. They bring so much to our lives. They work hard, are disciplined, honor us, and strive to progress. On Veterans Day it’s the least we can do to show them some fun, right? This Veterans Day let loose a bit and give your partner a good time.
On A More Serious Note
Everyone should know that every veteran returns from service as a changed person. Some changes are harder than others. Tens of thousands of veterans who served our country come home with physical injuries, emotional scars, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Putting the pieces back together takes time and patience. Most of all it takes a network of caring people who are there for them when they need them.
If you know someone who is struggling with issues they experience in the military, talk to them. You may not be able to give them the help they need, but you can help them find it. There are resources available for veterans to call on.
There are Still People Out There Fighting
Ask a vet, and they’ll tell you one of the best things you can do to support them is to support the brave people still out there fighting. Brave service people are stationed in bases all over the world ready to move on a moment’s notice.
We’re indebted every day to their willingness to serve and what they stand for. Veterans Day is more than a holiday. It’s an annual reminder that we should all be doing more to thank and give back to our veterans.
No go out there and show them some love.