From the Revolutionary War to today's war on terrorism, from the World Wars of Europe to the jungles of Viet Nam, from the deserts of the Middle East to the African continent, and especially here in America, our veterans have accepted the responsibility to defend our country and uphold our values when duty has called.
Our veterans have not only made America the great country that it is today, but the men and women of the United States Armed Forces have made the world a better place.
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, an official United States holiday that honors those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world. It also marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, which formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.
The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting appreciate and gratitude. While we should all thank our veterans for their service every day, Veterans Day is a great day to think creatively about how to give back to those who have served and protected our country. There are millions of small ways to show gratitude towards America's service men and women, but here are 25 ways you can honor a Veteran on Veterans Day:
1. Tell a veteran "thank you" and tell them what their service has meant to you. Recently at an event, after I thanked a Viet Nam veteran for his service, and I added "welcome home." He came to me at a break and said it was the first time he had ever heard those words. It is never too late to say "welcome home" to a Viet Nam veteran.
2. Buy lunch for a veteran.
3. Prepay at your favorite barber or hair salon for a veteran to get a free haircut.
4. Ask your company to name Veterans Day an official company holiday. Only 20% of companies plan to observe the holiday this year.
5. Place flowers and/or flags on the graves of veterans.
6. Volunteer at a VA Hospital and be willing to spend some time listening to a veteran's story.
7. Teach your children or grandchildren the history of Veterans Day and how thankful we should be for the service of our servicemen and women.
8. Read a book or watch a documentary about men and women who have served. I highly recommend "Outlaw Platoon" by Sean Parnell.
9. Attend a Veterans Day parade with some small gifts (maybe something like coffee shop gift cards) to hand out to the local veterans who are also attending.
10. Attend a presentation/speech being given by a veteran.
11. Post a message on your social network thanking our veterans. You never know who is reading your posts and just needed to hear "thank you."
12. Give recognition to a veteran at your work. This year our company has a very special surprise for our veteran employees. You also can be creative!
13. Stop by your local war memorial and say a silent thank you to those who died while serving the country.
14. Do one good deed today in honor of those who gave their life for the country.
15. Post a YouTube video about why you're thankful for our veterans and tag me on Facebook.
16. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com and tell me the story of your favorite veteran. Who is he or she? Where did he or she serve? What makes you proud of their service?
17. Help more veterans take the Honor Flight. You can learn more about the Honor Flight at www.HonorFlight.org.
18. Have a sign in front of your business? Replace your usual marketing message with "Thank you, veterans!"
19. Change your profile picture on your social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others to a patriot theme, or better yet, a picture of a veteran in your family
20. Each time you thank a soldier, thank their family too. They all sacrifice so much for our freedom.
21. Read an article about post-traumatic stress so you can be sensitive to the issues veterans around you might be facing.
22. Adopt a military family for the holidays. Whether through emotional or financial support, they will appreciate the extra care during these emotional times.
23. Write a blog post about how you thanked a veteran today.
24. Send this list to a friend who needs help thinking of ways to thank veterans.
25. Donate to your favorite veteran's charity. My favorite is the Boot Campaign. I have worked with this non-profit for many years and they are passionate about giving back to those who serve and are in need. There are many veterans who have urgent needs and you can help with your donation.
While this is only one day out of the year that is dedicated solely to honor our veterans, we must never forget the sacrifices that so many of our fellow Americans have made to defend our way of life and our freedoms. This Veterans Day, let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed everything so that we can live free.
Louise Thaxton is a producing branch manager for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., with satellite offices across Louisiana. She is also director of the Military Mortgage Specialist Division. She can be reached at 866-960-9115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.