November 11th is a day set aside to honor our Veterans and thank our soldiers. It’s a time we should pause to remember all of the brave, selfless, and heroic acts our service members have done and how they continue to protect and preserve our safety and freedoms every day.
While November is a time when we should remember the sacrifices service members and their families give all year long, why not set more than a few minutes aside one day a year to shake a hand, say thank you, or attend a parade?
If you want to do something more substantive and meaningful to support our Veterans, there are many things you can do throughout the year to honor our military, both past, and present, and thank them for their service and sacrifice.
7 Ways to Thank a Veteran
1. Donate to Veterans’ Causes
Veterans often struggle in their daily lives after they leave active duty. Many of them have been injured, suffer from PTSD, experience difficulties making the transition from military to civilian jobs, struggle financially, or become homeless. Numerous organizations dedicate themselves to helping veterans and these organizations are always in need of financial support. Consider donating money to organizations such as Wounded Warriors, PenFed Foundation, Homes for Our Troops, Hiring Our Heroes, or other groups that support military causes. If you have a car you plan to trade in, consider donating it to a military cause instead.
2. Donate Your Time
Cash isn’t the only donation you can make. For many Veterans and current service members, sharing your time with them would mean so much. The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs is always looking for volunteers (and their website lists numerous areas where you can volunteer), as are United Service Organizations (USO), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and countless other organizations. Are you handy with a hammer, experienced with accounting, pouring coffee, or simply have a driver’s license? Whatever your talent or ability, there is a local Veterans group somewhere that could use your help.
3. Send Cards and Packages
Many people send cards and packages to deployed troops and Veterans. Take a few minutes every week or month and send thoughtful cards or packages through organizations such as Operation Gratitude, Operation We Are Here, Any Soldier, or Operation Shoebox. You can also send toiletries and other niceties to deployed troops who may have limited access to things we use daily and take for granted.
4. Help a Veteran Visit their Memorial
Numerous Veterans who fought overseas for our freedoms have never gotten the opportunity to see their national memorials in Washington, D.C. Most probably will never get the chance. Honor Flights is an organization that strives to change this by enabling Veterans to see the memorials in our nation’s capital honoring them and their fallen comrades. You can donate money to the cause, offer to serve as a guardian on a trip, come to the airport to see Veterans off to their flight, or if you live in or are visiting the Washington D.C. region, you can greet Veterans as they come off the airplane or arrive by bus at the WWII Memorial. Find an Honor Flight organization near you and ask them how you can help.
5. Bring in a Veteran Speaker
Our Veterans have tremendous and unique experiences whether they be with leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, crisis management, and are great problem solvers. This makes them the perfect guests to bring in for a school or corporate event.
6. Help Veterans and Their Spouses Get Employed
Many Veterans struggle finding employment after they separate or retire from the military. If you have any hiring influence in your company, make an effort to hire Veterans. They are hard workers and, as they’ve already proven, are more than willing to give their all. Military spouses also often have difficulty finding employment due to interruptions in their careers due to multiple moves or holding down the home front during their spouse’s deployments. Make an effort to hire former service members and their spouses if you have open positions or play a role in hiring decisions.
7. Support Veteran-Owned Businesses
According to statistics, 2.5 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by former military members. You can support them by frequenting their businesses for products or hiring their companies whenever you need a service.
November is also Military Family Month and serves as a reminder to support Veterans and their families, however, why not go beyond and give back your support to honor them throughout the rest of the year? People often will shake the hands of Veterans or say thank you, but most don’t really understand what military members have been through. If you encounter a Veteran, take a moment to tell them how much you appreciate them. They probably won't want to talk about their experiences, but knowing you care will mean a lot to them.
We Honor and Respect Your Sacrifice
All of us at Raphaelson & Levine always take the time to honor and pay respect to the more than 2 million service members currently serving in the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. We also pay tribute to the more than 18.2 million veterans in the U.S. who have bravely served our country through times of peace and times of war.
These brave men and women, who are currently serving or who have previously served as active-duty members, reservists, and National Guard, have given so much of themselves to us.
Their daily sacrifices are what make possible for us to have the rights and freedoms we are privileged to enjoy every day. Their selfless daily contributions to our well-being are what make the United States the great free country it is. To all of you who have made this sacrifice, at The Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, we salute you and we appreciate you. Thank you for your service.