(BPT) - As the air turns crisp with fall in full swing, our thoughts turn to the holidays and all the things for which we are thankful. A perfect way to kick off this season of thankfulness is taking time to honor our veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces by recognizing Veterans Day this November 11. This Veterans Day commands even more attention and reverence as the date marks the end of the World War I centenary, which began Aug. 4, 2014, to recognize the 100-year anniversary of World War I.
Here are five simple ways you can honor our veterans and their families for their sacrifice:
- Say “Thank You” — Manners never go out of style, and these two words can go a long way to show gratitude for our service members. Keep your eyes open for veterans displaying tokens of their service, such as a hat, shirt or license plate, and take the time to let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifice. You can also write letters to our veterans to give them a physical reminder of your thanks by researching local or national organizations that gather and disperse letters to our military.
- Show Your Support — You can show your support for veterans by displaying memorabilia specific to a certain branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, or an American flag in or around your home, office or school. Just be sure to follow proper flag etiquette and hang the flag vertically or horizontally with the union in the correct place.
- Buy-In to Business — Find veteran-owned businesses or businesses that support veterans through financial and service donations. Be on the lookout for ways to support businesses year-round, as many companies leverage certain times of year to make the most impact for veterans. For example, ClubCorp used the beautiful October weather to host a Patriot Golf Day tournament at 27 of their private country clubs across Texas to benefit Folds of Honor and the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative. The tournament raised donations and awareness for military veterans and their families and gave communities across Texas a chance to recognize our veterans.
- Participate in Community Events — Whether it’s a fundraiser like Patriot Golf Day at one of the ClubCorp courses across Texas, a local parade or a school program, research what your community is doing to support and recognize veterans and participate by showing up for the event, donating your time to volunteer or financially contributing to fund the event or the cause the event benefits.
- Spend Time Together — One of the most important investments you can make in a veteran and in their families in addition to the above is simply spending time with them. Ask them about their service, such as why they chose to join the military or about one of their favorite memories from their time enlisted. Ask them what ways they and their families have felt most appreciated in the past for their sacrifice and keep those ideas in mind for future ways to honor our veterans.
There are many ways to recognize and support our veterans and their families. Use the list above as inspiration and make the time to show your gratitude for our service members and their families, not just on Veterans Day, but year-round.
(photo of Frisco American Legion Post 178)