On November 11th, our nation comes together to remember the men and women who have served or actively serve our country.
Veterans Day was originally “Armistice day,” commemorating the one-year anniversary of the World War I armistice, and in 1926 Congress passed a resolution for its annual remembrance. In 1938, it became a national holiday under President Roosevelt, and in 1954 the holiday became known as Veterans Day to honor not only the heroes of World War I, but all of those who have served throughout history.
Veterans Day is always held on November 11th regardless of the day of the week, which preserves the historical significance of the holiday and draws our attention to the love and patriotism shown by all of the veterans who have served our country in pursuit of the common good.
This Friday, show your support and gratitude for our troops by finding ways to demonstrate your appreciation. Here are 10 ways to celebrate Veterans Day in a meaningful way.
- Fly the flag: From sunrise to sunset, display your American flag proudly in support of our veterans. Read more about how to properly fly the stars and stripes with respect and patriotism.
- Red, White, Blue, and Yellow: Pin a yellow ribbon or a red poppy to your shirt in remembrance of those who have served. Read more about the history of these symbols, and sport your ribbon or poppy with pride.
- Create a Care Package: Gather friends or family and assemble a care package to send to Any Soldier or Military Missions, and be sure to look up what you can and cannot include. You can also read Operation Gratitude’s wishlist of items needed for the care packages they send to deployed troops and make a donation.
- Get Crafty: Can you knit, crochet, or sew? Warmth for Warriors and Knit Your Bit provides knitted scarves, hats, and socks to active duty soldiers.
- Visit a National Cemetery: If you live closeby to a national cemetery, ask the staff if you can take a moment to lay flowers or a flag on a veteran’s grave in honor of their sacrifice. If you’re wondering what flowers are appropriate, read this list of suitable arrangements.
- Pick up the Phone: If you have family or friends who have served in the military, be sure to call them and thank them for all they have done for our country.
- Support Veteran Businesses: Find local restaurants or shops that are run or owned by military veterans, and stop in for a bite to eat or browse the shelves to support veterans in your community.
- Office Commemoration: Bring your coworkers together for a coffee break, and take the opportunity to recognize any active duty military or veterans in the office. You can even bring a yellow ribbon cake or flowers to brighten the office space and commemorate their service.
- Take Your Vet to Lunch: If you have friends or family members in the military, treat them to a meal at a local veteran-owned restaurant, or to one of the 78 restaurants offering free meals to military personnel on November 11th.
- Say ‘Thank You’: This last tip is the most important, and should be observed year-round. Whenever you see someone in military uniform, be sure to express your gratitude with a firm handshake and sincere smile, and thank them for all that they have done to protect our rights and build a better future for our country.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS Austin’s We Are Austin, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, The New York Times, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015 and recipient of the British Airways International Trade, Investment & Expansion Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.