Many Ways We Can Show Appreciation to our Veterans 

Showing gratitude to our country’s veterans is something we can do year-round, but every November, the federal Veterans Day holiday is a great reminder to do something extra-special for those veterans in our family, our neighborhood and our community. Veterans Day, on Nov. 11, is set aside as a day to honor all military veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Here are some of the many different ways we can show our appreciation for veterans. 

19 million U.S. veterans: The makeup of America’s veterans population is shifting, according to the Pew Research Center. There are about 19 million U.S. veterans as of this year, and Gulf War-era veterans now make up the largest portion of that overall population. There are about 7.8 million veterans who served in the Gulf War era, compared to the 5.9 million veterans who served in the Vietnam era, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates. There are about 933,000 Korean conflict-era veterans in the U.S., compared to the dwindling number of men and women who served in World War II, which is estimated to be 240,000. Data shows that about 78% of U.S. veterans served during wartime, while the remaining 22% did their service as part of peacetime efforts. 

“Thank you for your service.” While some veterans prefer not to discuss their military service, others proudly acknowledge their military background. They join veterans groups, march in local parades and often wear hats or shirts that denote their particular military branch. If you see someone wearing these in your local coffee shop, in line at the grocery store or at a restaurant, it’s a nice gesture to inquire about their veteran status and offer them a heartfelt “Thank you for your service.” It’s a gesture that can really make someone’s day – and show them their sacrifice has not been forgotten. 

Write, call, email or text. Have a veteran in your family, your friend group, or on your street? Veterans Day is a great opportunity to drop them a card, an email, text or make a quick phone call, just to express your gratitude. Taking a few moments out of your day to do this is a small thing, but it can make a big impression on someone else.  

Donate. If you don’t have a veteran in your family – or if you just want to show gratitude to a larger number of veterans – donating to groups designed to help veterans is a great way to show your respect for their service. Here are some options: 

Disabled American Veterans: helps veterans and their families with disability assistance, job programs and VA pension assistance.  

Wounded Warrior Project: assists injured veterans with rehabilitation, counseling and activities.  

Homes For Our Troops: Builds and donates customized homes for injured veterans who have special housing needs.  

Small gifts. Brighten a veterans day by donating small gifts, snacks, crossword puzzle books and games to a local VA hospital or VA medical center, or an assisted living center that is home to veterans. Even small gifts can bring a reminder that someone is thinking about them.  

Give your time. If you have a veteran in your family or know of someone in your community, invite them to lunch or out for a walk. If they are open to it, ask them about their service. Listening to them talk about their military experience can be a gift in itself. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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