Ideas to Celebrate Hometown Vets
Veterans hold such a special place in United States history and our communities. Whether an individual has served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, they deserve thanks for their hard work protecting our country, and the sacrifice it takes to be part of the military.
On Nov. 11, we salute them by celebrating Veterans Day, a national holiday that marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. It is meant to honor U.S. veterans and the victims of all wars. There will be national celebrations marking this holiday as well as local events in some cities and towns.
Did you know that veterans remain a large part of the population? There are currently about 17.4 million veterans in the U.S., according to the most recent Census statistics. More than nine million of those veterans are served each year by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which operates 170 VA medical centers and more than 1,000 outpatient sites across the country to assist veterans with their various needs, including healthcare.
To mark Veterans Day, families and communities can come up with creative ways to honor the veterans in their midst. Here are some ideas for celebrating hometown vets where you live:
Start close to home: Many of us have veterans in our families. While you might know the branch of military in which they served, your knowledge of their service might stop there. Either you or your children can take the opportunity to reach out to that person. – try a phone call or email if they are long-distance. Ask about where they served, what they enjoyed about it, and what places they traveled to if they were deployed. Respect that some veterans may not want to talk about their memories. In those cases, you can steer the conversation toward friends they made that they still might keep in touch with. Having people interested in their years of service underscores the importance of what they have accomplished.
Identify veterans in your neighborhood: This is a project that can bring neighbors and friends together for a good cause. Identify veterans – and families who might have current active military members – and talk about ways you can honor their service. Some ideas:
- Sending a thank-you card on Veterans Day.
- Delivering a batch of cookies or a meal to their doorstep to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Pool resources with neighbors and buy small gift cards for local restaurants or coffee shops.
- Encourage your children or family members to craft handmade cards or pictures.
Celebrate veterans in your community: Your city or town may have an existing committee that works on veterans issues. Check with your local department of veteran’s affairs to see if there are ways you can get involved.
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