November 11th is the one day set aside each year to honor those who have served and continue to serve our nation. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, the day we pay tribute to fallen service members.
Veterans Day offers an excellent opportunity to teach civilians about the sacrifices service members and their families make year-round. This day also provides Veterans with activities you may not find every day.
We've compiled some of our top ideas on celebrating Veterans Day below. If you're interested in brushing up on your history, you can also learn more about the day here.
This Veterans Day, Veterans United is giving away 11 homes to 11 deserving Veterans, part of a new campaign that highlights all the ways our communities are better #ThanksToVeterans. Watch the stories here.
Many restaurants offer free meals or discounts on Veterans Day. Keep in mind most require proof of service (military ID, separation papers, etc.), so be sure to bring that with you. Also, it's a good idea to call ahead to any establishment to ensure they offer a discount before going.
It's also very common for state parks and museums to offer free entry on Veterans Day. Visit their website or call ahead to double-check.
Start compiling a list of names and addresses of the Veterans you know and send them a thank you card this year. Continue building out your list and make a tradition of sending these out each year. It only takes 10 minutes to send a welcome gift to a Veteran or deployed service member. Here are some letter-writing tips, specifically for troops, to get you started.
We previously suggested visiting a VA hospital, assisted living or nursing home. However, with COVID, visiting the elderly isn't advised. Instead, writing a card or sending a video is a great way to brighten their day.
If you don't know someone currently stationed overseas, contact a nearby base or an organization like Blue Star Moms to identify troops in need. But, first, become familiar with what deployed troops really want in their care packages.
For young children, a fun project is a great way to start teaching about the holiday and its importance. You can also check out these fun pumpkin carving stencils to help get you into the swing of fall.
A timeline or short writing project is a great way for students to learn about the holiday's history. Consider organizing a creative writing contest with the theme of Veterans Day. Talk with the school and understand their requirements. You may find willing volunteer judges among student organizations, local Veteran organizations, active duty, reservists, teachers, or professors at a local university. This article offers a few other educational ideas.
Inviting a parent, grandparent, faculty member or community member who is a Veteran to speak to your class is a great way to get involved.
Don't know any Veterans to invite? Contact your local VA; their Public Affairs Officer will likely identify a good guest speaker. Many Veterans also work at VA facilities and are typically happy to speak to students.
Our communities are better thanks to Veterans. Take some time to thank those in your area.
A simple thank you goes a long way. However, feel free to show extra appreciation by taking a Veteran from your office out to coffee or lunch. Keep in mind that Veterans are typically very humble and don't like creating a big to-do - simple things go a long way.
Veteran-owned businesses are in every community. Google makes it easier to find in their business profiles via their Google My Business profile. It usually signifies via a "Veteran-Led" note on the profile. You can also use Veteran-owned business directories or ask friends in your community.
There are many charities that help Veterans in need. Consider making a donation this Veterans Day to help those wounded or affected by service.
A more private way to show thanks is by observing a moment of silence. The Veterans Day moment of silence is typically observed for two minutes at 11:11 am every Veterans Day.