How To Celebrate Veterans Day
It’s that time of year again when everyone from department stores to car dealerships to hair salons suddenly wants to “support the troops”. Companies are hoping to cash in on Veterans Day now and then carry it through the holiday season, which is often a difficult and emotional time for military families. Many vets are alone or struggling, children are missing their deployed parents, and families are stationed far away from the comforts and familiarity of home.
You can call it pessimism if you want, but I am not a fan of corporations using our troops and veterans to sell more stuff. It feels manipulative and cheap. They’re selling more hamburgers and greeting cards, not actual support. What about the men and women who are living those artfully lit, sad background music commercials every day? Support is letting them know we haven’t forgotten about their sacrifice. Support is given with love in mind, not profits.
No matter how you feel about the current conflicts – or war in general – our military is a vital part of keeping all Americans safe and free in an imperfect world. Buying a box of cereal is not the best you can do.
So how can you support past and preset service men and women?
- Be aware of the mental health challenges facing veterans. If you see a vet or their loved one struggling or suspect they need someone to talk to, pass on the number for the Vet Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 press 1) or help them access veteranscrisisline.net.
- Visit a nursing home and ask to sit with a veteran for an hour to listen to their story. Do you have a relative who is a veteran? Ask if they’d be interested in recording their memories on video or audio to share with future generations.
- Send a care package to someone currently serving. AnySoldier.com is great resource to find service men and women with specific needs.
- Support the USO directly, either with a donation or by volunteering your time.
- Call a friend who’s in the military to chat. Bring dinner to a mom whose husband is deployed. Pick up the tab for a service member at a restaurant. Help a local organization clean up veterans’ graves. Volunteer to babysit so a couple can spend some time together before they’re separated by the military again. Do one small thing today that shows you appreciate a vet.
And remember it doesn’t have to be Veterans Day for you to do any of these things. Our men and women in uniform serve 365 days a year and memories of their service last a lifetime.