Donate to a military affiliated charity in honor of a fallen soldier.
Organizations that help veterans and active duty members are always in need of donations. Without help from other they are not able to reach out to as many people in need. There are a wide range of charities who would graciously accept any donation you are able to make. Some of these organizations are Disabled American Veterans, Hope for the Warriors and Operation Gratitude to name a few.
Volunteer to help at a Veterans Day event or military organization.
There are many organizations out there that are geared toward helping veterans that rely heavily on volunteers to keep running. VA medical centers around the country have various volunteer opportunities as well as local hospice and hospitals who often look for volunteer drivers to help vets get to their appointments. Many local organizations participate in drives to gather needed items for veterans or soldiers on deployment that can always use donations of items or time.
Send a care package to a deployed service member
Today, in the post 9/11 era, it is difficult and often discouraged to send out care packages to reach just “any soldier” for security purposes. There are, however, organizations who have stepped up to help fill this void and provide care packages to deployed service members. They accept money donations as well as desired package items and will make sure your generosity is put to good use and provide a little piece of home to soldiers far away. One such organization is MarineParents.com that created Care Package Projects who assemble and send packages to military members.
Hire a vet in need of employment.
If you are a business owner or in a position to hire, consider a vet. Many have the discipline and drive to succeed regardless of the task presented to them. With the overwhelming unemployment levels of vets, this kindness would be greatly appreciated.
Ask a veteran close to you to share their stories.
Asking a family member who served or a close family friend is an invaluable way to learn first-hand about our country’s history as well as your family’s history. Letting a veteran share their stories with you is an amazing way to bond and show them that you really care about what they went through and sacrificed for their country.
Purchase a ticket for a veteran to attend a fun event or outing.
Treat a veteran to a special event or favorite pastime of theirs. There is even an organization, Brown Paper Tickets Salutes, which allows you to donate event tickets making sure the get to a vet in a city of your choice.
Send a letter or message to a deployed service member or a veteran.
The small amount of time it takes to write a letter or email to a service member or veteran is well worth the huge impact it will make on their state of mind. E-cards can be sent to a soldier of your choice through the American Legion or sign up at A Million Thanks and send a letter to a veteran. This organization will even help you with suggestions if you are unsure what to write.
Donate blankets or scarves to a local VFW for veterans in need.
If you are crafty, knit a blanket or a scarf that can be put to good use for veterans in need. They are donated to those who can’t afford them or given to the homeless to help them keep warm in harsh weather.
Buy a meal for a vet.
Whether it is a fast food or a sit down dinner for a vet or his entire family or simply a dessert to say thank you and show your gratitude, it is always greatly appreciated. Just the gesture itself is a wonderful way to show appreciation.
Provide a meal to a military family who is waiting back home for their soldier to return from deployment.
Deployment is always a tough time for a military family. Young ones are missing a parent and a parent who is used to having help is left alone to handle things themselves. Offering a meal will take some of the pressure off of the family member at home giving them one less task to tackle.
Employers host a luncheon for veterans
Take the time and effort to show your employees how much their service means to you and your company. Celebrate veterans through a gathering focused just on them and the appreciation your business has for their commitment to their country.
Support veteran owned businesses.
Over 3 million former service members own their own businesses. Show them your support by utilizing their goods and services whenever possible.
Have children or students make cards and pictures for veterans in a retirement home.
Many veterans are of the age to be in retirement homes. These individuals often struggle with loneliness. A cheerful card from a child expressing their thanks can brighten the day of any veteran unable to be with their loved ones. It is also a wonderful idea to stop in for a visit and spend a few minutes thanking or simply listening to the stories these men and women have to tell.
Teachers invite a veteran to speak to your class.
Giving children a first-hand account of what it is like to be part of the military is fascinating. They are able to learn from the source and see just what it takes and what it means to be a service member.
Donate clothing to a veteran organization.
There are many facilities that will accept your gently used clothing. This clothes are then distributed to military and veteran families in need. They also offer clothing stores to qualified military members allowing them to come in and pick out clothes for themselves or their children free of charge, giving them the ability to choose what best suits their needs.
Properly fly the American Flag
Make sure that when you display your flag in support of our country that it is properly positioned. There are different rules for different methods of display. Show the proper respect in making sure your flag flies correctly. Tips for flying your flag can be found at http://www.usa-flag-site.org/etiquette.shtml.
Start a school or work drive to gather items for deployed military members.
Deployed soldiers are always appreciative of packages from home. It gives them a boost and reminds them just what they are there to protect. Collecting items for care packages is a great way to say thank you. The family members back home are also happy to receive items while their loved ones are away. Soldiers will rest easier knowing their families back home are well cared for.
Offer to babysit for a veteran or military family to allow the husband and wife some quiet time together.
Military live can be stressful and the compensation often less than deserved. Offer your service to allow a military or veteran couple some time to reconnect or unwind even if for just a little while.
Attend a local ceremony or parade to show your support.
Most likely wherever you live, there will be some form of ceremony or parade honoring veterans on Veterans Day. Attending these events will show those involved your support and gratitude for all they have done and sacrificed.
Visit a military cemetery to pay your respects.
There are numerous cemeteries throughout the country reserved for veterans. Take the time to visit, pay respect and reflect on the sacrifices made by those brave men and women for their country.
Words by Brooke Nason, Military Spouse and Contributor, Warrior Lodge