November 11, 1919, Woodrow Wilson enacted Armistice Day. It has grown from there, and evolved from a day to honor those that served in WWI to a day to honor all Veterans. General Dwight Eisenhower was a bolstering factor in making the first National Veteran’s Day in the mid 40’s; however, it was not signed as a law until Eisenhower was president, in 1954.
By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
All over the country people celebrate the day in different ways, setting aside time to honor those who have served. I grew up in an extremely patriotic home. That might sound silly I know, because we are all proud of our country; but instilling a sense of pride and understanding in our children as they grow can have such a profound effect on who you are as person. My parents did such a wonderful job with this, and I want to instill that same thing in my children whether my husband stays in the military or not. What are some ways that you can Honor (I say that instead of Celebrate, because celebrate just doesn’t sound right) Veterans in your neighborhood?
1. The Veteran’s Day Parade: This is a staple for most holidays, and if a town is awesome I bet they probably have one. It’s not only community building, but many Veterans take part in these events, and who wouldn’t love to hear a cheer for them in the crowd.
**For my DC/VA peeps, check out the Veteran’s Day Parade in Manassas, Va on November 9th
2. Visit a local Memorial: Not only will most memorials be decked out with flags, many of them have special events. Visiting memorials can be a great teaching tool for your children. Children surprisingly handle a lot, and here in our house we talk openly and honestly. We have visited Arlington and Walter Reed with our children and it has been a great experience.
**DC/VA – There will be events at most of the major memorials including The Air Force, Navy, Marine Corp, Vietnam and WWII memorials. Another fun and unique event will be taking place at Mount Vernon. There will be a wreath-laying, music and lots of other fun period-related activities. Military service members (including retired) get in free on November 11th.
3. Holiday Mail for Heroes: The Red Cross has a Holiday Mail program for sending letters to troops and their families who are medical facilities and installations across the world. The deadline is December 6, so there isn’t a whole lot of time, but it can be a lot of fun, and a great way to involve even the littlest patriots in your family. Mine will be participating in an event at our local Red Cross, so check out their website to see if there is any event near you or get all the details and guidelines you need to make your own letters.
4. Help a Veteran in Your Life: And when I say “help”, but maybe its not just a physical act of helping. Maybe you invite them over for dinner, maybe you send them a note, or maybe its just as simple as extending a hand to thank them for their service. Sometimes that is all they need to put a smile on their face.
5. Don’t forget their families: If there is a family in your circle with a dad/mom deployed, remember to thank them too. Keeping the fires burning can be a tough job, and sometimes we aren’t the ones that get any recognition. That isn’t meant to pity us, no…we are safe in our beds each night. Believe me, we understand what that means. And while most times when anyone says thanks to me, or anything like that, I awkward accept it and loudly say that it is my husband who deserves all the praise…doesn’t mean that the extra thought doesn’t give me a little pep in my step. I know my fellow Millies appreciate it as well.
Stop by the VA’s “Veteran’s Day” #HonorAVet website to find listings of what is going on near you!