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November 11, 2021

Veterans Day 2021: 11 Ways to Honor Those Who Served

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Veterans Day 2021: 11 Ways to Honor Those Who Served

November 11th is Veterans Day, a federal holiday set aside to remember the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. 

A little bit of history about the date: 

  • On this day in 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marked the signing of the Armistice that brought an official end to World War I. 
  • On the first anniversary of this historic event, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day to honor those who died in the country’s service. 
  • In 1954, at the urging of the veteran’s services organizations, Congress changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor American veterans of all wars. 

11 Ways to Observe Veterans Day

What can you do to observe Veterans Day? Here are 11 ways to honor veterans for their service. 

1. Observe a moment of silence at 11:11 a.m. and 11:11 p.m. Take a moment to show your respect for those who served and silently thank them for their sacrifice.

2. Visit a veterans memorial. Make a day trip to pay your respects while learning more about U.S. military history.

3. Wear a red poppy. Wearing a red poppy on November 11th to show support for veterans and active-duty service members has been a tradition since 1921. The American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program distributes millions of red crepe paper poppies, handmade by veterans, across the country on Veterans Day and Memorial Day in exchange for donations to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans.

4. Support veteran-owned businesses. To find local products and services that are made, sold, or serviced by veterans, visit your state’s Department of Veterans Affairs website.

5. Take part in your local Veterans Day parade. Who doesn’t love a parade? Local veterans are celebrated, while parade watchers get a fun way to recognize veterans of all eras.

6. Take a vet to lunch. Show a veteran (or two) your gratitude by sharing a meal and listening to their stories.

7. Donate to a veterans service organization. There are more than 45,000 military and veteran non-profits in the United States. To ensure that you’re giving to a trusted charitable organization, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a directory of congressionally chartered and recognized Veteran Services Organizations.

8. Volunteer your time with a Veteran Services Organization. Explore volunteer opportunities with veterans. According to the VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement, in 2019, over 61,000 volunteers served more than 9.2 million volunteer hours. Learn how and where you can start making a difference. 

9. Recognize the spouses and families of veterans. Don’t overlook the family members who sacrificed on the home front to support their loved ones who served. 

10. Send a care package to a VA hospital or nursing home. While many VA hospitals are restricting visitors, you can still show a vet your appreciation by sending a helpful care package to brighten someone’s day. Organizations like Operation Gratitude and Blue Star Moms coordinate care package programs directly with VA facilities and troops overseas. 
11. Thank your co-workers, friends, and family members who have served. Send the veterans in your life a thank-you card every November 11th. Or simply say thanks. There is never a downside to showing your gratitude any way you can.

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