Five Ways to Thank a Veteran this Veterans Day

Veterans Day is coming up in a few short weeks. Days like this are so special to me for obvious, and not so obvious reasons. As a military family any day that I can especially honor those that serve is important. Most of the time its emotional for me, thinking about my husband and what he sacrifices, my friends and their families, and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. And despite the continuing argument of Veterans Day vs. Memorial Day, any day that people can stop and be reminded is a good thing in my book. That’s why I am so excited to be a part of the Great Clips
Veterans Day program. With Veterans Day quickly approaching I wanted to touch on some of the ways you can say “Thank You!”

1. Volunteer – This is perhaps my favorite way to thank a Veteran any day of the week. Finding a group that helps military families, whether you are one or not, is one of the most amazing ways to thank a Veteran any time of the year. Have you ever heard of Honor Flight? It’s an amazing program that takes WWII and Korean War Veterans to see their memorial in the DC area. If you live in DC you can come and be a greater at the memorials, clap, wave flags and have your kids (if you have them) pass out thank you cards. If you don’t live near DC you can become a Guardian, that travels with the veteran from their hometown to the memorial as a chaperon of sorts. Look for an organization in your area. See my tabs up top for a huge listing of non-profits that are always looking for support and volunteers.

2. Reach out to families around you – There are very few of us that go through life without having some connection to the military or a military family. Look for those people around you and reach out to them. I have never been so blessed in my life then when people have reached out to our family to offer support and love. Whether that be sending my husband and his roommates care packages or offering to help me here at home.

3. Write a letter with Soldier’s Angels – This is an organization that both my mom and I have participated with. Solider’s Angels have grown and has extensive programs for support deployed service members, retired Veterans, female service members and families.

4. Educate Yourself and Those Around You – Something frequently cited by military families at conferences and in surveys is the feeling of a military/civilian divide. The percentage of those serving gets smaller and smaller, which only accentuates that feeling. Service members are coming home having experienced unspeakable things, and growing more and more weary as time goes on. Take the time to understand PTS  (Post Traumatic Stress), anxiety and depression that comes from returning home and feeling alone, survivors guilt and the struggles of our wounded warriors and their caregivers. Speak openly and honestly about it with your children and family members. The assumption that one person CAN’T make a difference is anything but true.

5. Visit a Great Clips on November 11th! – Stop by and visit your local Great Clips {click for more info}. You’ll get a free hair cut card to pass on to a Veteran. It’s a really amazing way to give back and bless a veteran, even if it is something as small a haircut. If you don’t need a haircut tell a Veteran in your life so that they can visit themselves and get their free haircut! With more than 3,800 salons throughout the United States and Canada, Great Clips is the world’s largest salon brand. So odds are, there’s one close to you {check here!}. What I love about having a blog is that I get to highlight organizations, like Great Clips, that have shown dedication to their communities with a focus on philanthropic and volunteer activities. So make sure to join Great Clips on Veteran’s Day to get and give a haircut!

how do you and your family care for and thank the Veteran’s in your life and community?

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Five Ways to Honor Veterans on Veteran’s Day

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.

72-901-1 HR7786 Veterans Day June 1 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!

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