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Meaningful ways to really thank our veterans

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






Reach out and thank a veteran today using these simple ways to honor their service

Celebrate Veterans Day by showing those who sacrificed for our freedom how much you care. Here are a few ideas of how you can say "Thank-you."

Reach out and thank a veteran today using these simple ways to honor their service

Photo credit: FreePhotos.com


When out and about:

  1. If you're dining in the same restaurant as a veteran, offer to pay for his or her meal.
  2. If you can't afford to buy the full meal, then buy an appetizer, drink or dessert instead.
  3. At the movies? Buy his or her ticket or a snack and drink from the concession stand.
  4. Pay for a coffee at Starbucks, and instruct the barista to award it to the next veteran in line.
  5. Just be courteous in general. Hold open doors, offer to help them get their groceries to their car, smile and be friendly, etc.

Reach out and thank a veteran today using these simple ways to honor their service

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


When traveling and commuting:

  1. If you're on the subway and see a veteran standing, offer him or her your seat.
  2. Offer your cab to a waiting veteran.
  3. Flying first class? Offer your seat to a veteran on the plane.
  4. If you run into a service member in the airport gift shop, buy him or her a snack or a magazine for the flight.
Reach out and thank a veteran today using these simple ways to honor their service
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


At work:

  1. CEOs: Think of ways your company can offer special discounts and/or services to our veterans.
  2. Recruiters: Seriously consider veteran applicants for open positions in your company.
  3. Bosses: Give your employees who have served our country the day off, or allow them to work a shorter shift.
  4. Team members: If Veterans Day is not a paid holiday at your company, then pool together funds to cover a day's wages for veterans on your team.
  5. Bring doughnuts and coffee for the veterans in your office.
  6. Decorate veterans' work spaces with American flags.
  7. Have every member of your team write a thank-you note to each veteran you work with.
  8. Pass out small American flags to each of your co-workers.

Reach out and thank a veteran today using these simple ways to honor their service

Photo credit: FreePhotos.com

Anywhere and anytime:

  1. Shake their hand, look them in the eye and thank them for their service to our country.
  2. Send thank-you letters and care packages to our troops.
  3. Support the families of our troops by giving to the spouses and families of deployed soldiers.
  4. Bake cookies or cupcakes for veterans in your neighborhood.
  5. Visit a local VA hospital and share stories with the patients.
  6. Ask them to share their stories, and listen to what they have to say.
  7. Know an aging vet in your neighborhood? Give him your phone number, and tell him to call whenever he needs a hand.
  8. Rather than selling your old car, donate it to Cars for U.S. Troops.
  9. Organize a collection drive for items our troops need.
  10. If you have a special skill, find projects like Made with Love where you can put that skill to use to support our troops.
  11. Shop! When you buy merchandise from Operation Gratitude, every purchase sends a care package to a deployed service member.
  12. Look for crowdfunding campaigns that help veterans. Operation Homefront is a unique resource you can use to find them.
  13. Offer to help with house upkeep (mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, etc.) for the families of deployed service members.
  14. Help injured veterans, past and present, get into homes that accommodate their needs by supporting Homes for Our Troops.
  15. Help homeless veterans by supporting organizations like the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
  16. Support Operation Write Home, which sends blank stationery to active duty soldiers so they can continue to write home to their loved ones.
  17. Support businesses that regularly offer special discounts and support to our veterans. This will encourage them to keep at it!
  18. Fly the American flag.

More about veterans

Why we celebrate Veterans Day
Sgt. First Class Dannielle Woosley leaps from planes for her country
Dogs of War tells inspiring stories of rescue dogs and veterans with PTSD

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