Veterans Day celebrations are traced back to the end of World War I, in 1918. It was actually on the 11th day of the 11th month (November, 11), at the 11th hour an armistice was signed, ending the fighting.
The importance of this day and time has been solidified by the establishment of the federal holiday. Every year on November 11th, or weekday (Monday or Friday) closest to November 11, we are reminded of the importance of honoring the men and women who have served in our armed forces.
Here are a few ways to celebrate Veterans Day with purpose and meaning.
Start with the Basics
There is no more recognized and honored symbol of our country, and specifically our military veterans, as the American Flag. Explore how you can display a flag and pass on the message of thanks and awareness of the holiday. Your car window or bumper can be an obvious spot as you move around town. Your front lawn or house window can display your patriot spirit. For smaller spots, you can obtain a package of flag stickers or purchase flag-decorated postage stamps for all your mailing.
Is it OK to say “Happy” Veterans Day?
While we are remembering a very solemn event in our country’s history, the holiday is primarily purposed to honor and thank our active and veteran military members. Thus, saying “Happy Veterans Day” to these honorees is considered appropriate and appreciated.
Clever Ways to Say “Happy Veterans Day”
Consider thanking a veteran in person. Not only can you offer your thanks, but you can give thanks in meaningful ways. How about sharing a meal or a pleasant walk. Consider that this time together will be a perfect opportunity to say “you may not agree, but I think you are a real hero.”
You can offer your veteran a symbol of patriotism. An American flag to wave proudly or a small bouquet of red, white and blue flowers can raise any veteran’s spirits and pride.
Celebrate with Purpose
Going beyond the words of appreciation, how might we celebrate with purpose and meaning? There are numerous types of charities that support veteran services. Many are easily found with a simple internet search. After reviewing their mission statement you will quickly know the focus of their meaningful work. Some run national programs and many find purpose close to home. Choose one or more and offer a contribution of support. Most charitable organizations welcome donations in the “honor” or “memory” of an individual, and you can usually offer the individual or family’s contact information to receive notification of your directed act of generosity and appreciation.
Help a Veteran Celebrate
Your veteran may appreciate assistance to attend celebrations. You can ask in advance and plan to provide safe transportation. Perhaps you will also be invited to attend the event, offering further assistance and meaningful support.
Possibly one of the kindest ways to thank a veteran is to recognize their personal sacrifice, for so many years in different ways. Consider how the veteran will treasure a collection of thanks in the form of mini-video messaging. You can spread the word a few weeks in advance, asking people who know the veteran, or simply know of his or her service to create a video message of gratitude. Your collection of these messages can be saved and shared using a simple-to-create video book thanks to Heirloom. The veteran is sure to hold this easy to open and play book to remind himself or herself of the appreciation so rightly earned.
Teach Our Children to Celebrate Veterans Day
Children can offer very touching wishes of support and thanks. Children are artists, usually eager to create objects of meaning. Just offer the basic supplies, a few examples of images and messages they may wish to convey, and watch their imagination transfer to the page. Nursing facilities, your family and friends, and extended colleagues may suggest a veteran who will enjoy receiving cards of appreciation. The kids can be encouraged to create their designs and you can gather up the cards for easy mailing or distribution. Children can be encouraged to create useful objects such as crafted pencil holders or bookmarks, or more simple 2-dimensional pictures, ready for displaying. Veterans at nursing facilities or within your neighborhood may love to assist in having the artwork shown.
Should you be a school teacher, a parent of a school-aged child or more simply a local citizen, you are in a good spot for this suggestion. Discuss with your school how they can work the holiday’s history and meaning into their curriculum. Perhaps you can offer to bring in a flag for each student. Or, for a more tasty celebration, cookies or cupcakes with a flag decoration. Once you have the attention of the students with this yummy surprise, you can slip in some important instruction into their lesson plan! Stretching the idea a little further, perhaps the school teacher will permit extending an invitation to a veteran to provide a real learning experience for kids of all ages. Most children welcome the hearing of real-life stories. Of course, always guide the storyteller to age-appropriate content, remaining alert to any detailed descriptions.
As you see, it is the expression of appreciation that is the most meaningful. In any way you choose, with any form of celebration or acknowledgement, you will have honored a veteran or two or many on this important national holiday.