Veterans Day, November 11th, is set aside in the U.S. to honor our military personnel past and present. This holiday is one way we honor America’s service members - both active duty and veterans - for their patriotism, bravery and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
The U.S. established this day of the year originally as Armistice Day, honoring veterans who died in World War I. The peace treaty that ended that war was signed on November 11, 1918. The U.S. holiday was created in 1938. Following World War II and the Korean War, the U.S. Congress passed legislation in 1954 to change the name of the holiday to recognize veterans of all American wars.
Separately, Memorial Day recognizes those vets who have sacrificed their lives in all wars throughout U.S. history.
This day of the year is recognized by the federal government and most state and local governments, so many people have the day off from work and school. Having time off provides an opportunity for civilians to honor our armed forces past and present for their year-round dedication.
Here are six ways to consider honoring veterans on Veterans Day.
1. Display a flag - according to Flag Code
Veterans Day is a popular day of the year to fly a U.S. flag at your home or business. There are rules for properly handling and displaying the flag. For details, read our post on the U.S. Flag Code: /blog/fly-american-flag-correctly
If you or one of your family members is a veteran or active-duty service member, consider flying the flag of the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine or National Guard. Or choose a “Support our Troops” flag. Find the military flags available on our site.
2. Attend a local event or visit a Veteran's memorial
Towns and cities across the U.S. recognize this day of the year with parades or other patriotic events. Participating in a Veterans Day event in your community shows your support and appreciation for local veterans and active-duty service members.
Parades and community gatherings honoring veterans are returning in some communities this year while other locations are choosing to repeat the virtual events adopted in 2020.
Many communities have veteran memorials that are open year-round. If you are not familiar with a memorial park in your locale, check with the town or city office to find out what is available. If your community does not have a memorial, consider making a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit one of the national memorials.
3. Learn from a Veteran
Veterans and active-duty service members have experiences many of us living a civilian life cannot imagine. Asking your loved ones about their military service and listening to the stories they are willing to share is a way to recognize and appreciate their dedication. Be considerate of anyone who does not want to share or, on the other hand, shares frankly about their experiences. To start a conversation, you might ask: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? Why did you choose your specific branch of the armed forces? What countries did you serve in?
If you need a speaker for a group meeting, invite a veteran. Those willing to share their war stories with your group can offer great insight into leadership, crisis management and personal bravery.
There are several organizations that provide support, services and appreciation to service members. Your donation or sponsorship would be welcomed as an act of support and appreciation for these heroes. The United Services Organization (USO), Disabled American Veterans, Soldiers Angels, and the Wounded Warrior Project are just a few. Find a list of charities for giving back to veterans and military families.
Beyond writing a check, there are many ways to get involved in honoring veterans. These include donating frequent flyer miles or offering your expertise to help a veteran's organization.
National Parks waive admission fees to all visitors on Veterans Day. If you and your family have the day off from work and school, consider inviting a veteran or military family to join you on an outing to one of these parks in recognition of the holiday.
6. Hire a Veteran, Military Spouse or Use a Veteran-owned Business
According to military.com, approximately nine percent of the 27 million U.S. small businesses are owned by veterans. You can support veteran entrepreneurship by frequenting these businesses. Learn more at the Coalition for Veteran Owned Businesses
If you are in the market to hire an employee or contractor, consider choosing former military personnel or a military spouse for the job.