Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11. Most of us know about Veterans Day because it is another day our banks are closed. But it is more than a bank holiday. It is a day we celebrate and honor the men and women who dedicated their lives to serving our country.

While Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving our country, Veterans Day honors the men and women who are still living among us. Sometimes, veterans become isolated, and their service is forgotten or overlooked. Rather than letting another Veterans Day pass us by without thinking of the impact veterans have had on our lives, let’s explore five ways we can show appreciation towards those who sacrificed so much to serve us.

1. Write a letter.

In today’s technological world, a handwritten letter is often treasured by the recipient. Writing a letter is a simple way to show appreciation to our veterans. You can even have your children write letters with you. If you have family members or friends that are veterans-day-blog-letter-imageveterans, write a letter to thank them for their service and for their dedication to our country. If you know specific accomplishments from their military career, tell them how proud you are of them. You might want to include a photo of you and your family with your letter. If you do not know any veterans, you can still write a letter expressing your gratitude for their service. You can begin the letter by writing “Dear Veteran.” You can write about the impact veterans’ service has had on our country and on our lives in general. You can mail or drop off your letter at a local VA Hospital. Check out U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to find the VA hospital closest to you. Or you can visit A Million Thanks to find a drop-off location for letters to veterans. 

2. Buy a meal for a veteran.

On Veterans Day, many restaurants offer discounts or free meals to honor our veterans. However, if you are at a restaurant that is not handing out free meals, offer to pay for a veteran’s meal. Or you could offer to pay for a meal after Veterans Day has been observed to show your appreciation. When you offer to pay for a veteran’s meal, be sure to thank them for serving our country. You can even write a small thank-you note on a receipt. A little act of kindness can go a long way in brightening someone’s day.

3. Make a phone call.

With our busy lives, we don’t take the time to actually talk to people on the phone. We either connect through social veterans-day-blog-talking-on-phonemedia or by texting. If you have a veteran in your family that you might not talk to often such as an uncle or grandfather (maybe even a great-grandfather), take the time to call them on Veterans Day to let them know how much you appreciate their service. Ask them about their service or about their current lives. If they want to share stories of their service, don’t rush them off the phone but just listen and be interested in what they say. Some veterans feel isolated, and a phone call might make them feel connected once again.  

4. Attend a local Veterans Day celebration.

Most cities host some type of Veterans Day celebration to honor those who dedicated their lives to serving our country. You and your family can simply show up to one of these celebrations. It is always nice for veterans to see support from people beyond their families and friends. By showing up and clapping when they walk by in a parade or when they are honored through speeches, you are communicating your gratitude for their service. This might make painful memories or sacrifices seem worthwhile to the veterans as they see the impact their service has had on their community. To find a celebration near you, check out the events at Veterans Day Dallas. Be sure to invite your family, friends, and neighbors! 

5. Volunteer at a local VA hospital.

Volunteering at a local VA hospital can be a great way to connect with veterans in your community. You can spend the day with a veteran by helping with recreational activities or special events. You might help prepare and serve food, work at the information desk, or make coffee! There are a number of opportunities to serve at VA hospitals that will help you make a difference in the lives of our veterans. To find out more about volunteer opportunities at a local VA hospital, visit VA North Texas Health Care System.

If you are unable to volunteer, there are always ways to donate to a local VA hospital. Many hospitals need donated items such as blankets, clothing, toiletries, games, and books for the veterans. Gather a few items and bring it to your local VA hospital. Or start a collection in your neighborhood by inviting your neighbors to purchase and drop off items at your house. For a complete list of needed items, visit  VA North Texas Health Care System.

Veterans Day is a time for us to remember and to honor the men and women who made sacrifices to serve our country and to give us freedom. Take time this weekend to show appreciation for our veterans. Whether you keep it as simple as a phone call or get as involved as spending a day with a veteran, showing our appreciation can go a long way in touching the hearts of those who serve us.