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Honoring Those Who Served: 11 Ways to Celebrate Veterans Day

November 11th is a day set aside each year to honor those who have served and continue to serve our nation. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, the day we pay tribute to fallen service members.

Veterans Day offers an excellent opportunity to teach civilians about the sacrifices service members and their families make year-round. The holiday also provides Veterans and their families with activities you may not find every day.

We've compiled some of our top ideas on celebrating Veterans Day below.

When is Veterans Day 2024?

This year, Veterans Day is on Monday, November 11th, 2024. Also called Armistice Day, this national day of recognition was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 and always falls on November 11th each year.

How to Celebrate Veterans Day

1. Veterans Can Get a Free or Discounted Meal

Most restaurants offer free meals or discounts to Veterans and service members on Veterans Day. Remember, businesses will likely require proof of service (military ID, separation papers, etc.), so be sure to bring that with you. Also, it's a good idea to call ahead to any establishment to ensure they offer a discount before going.

2. Visit a State Park or Museum

Many state parks and museums offer free entry on Veterans Day. Visit their website or call ahead to double-check.

3. Send a Card or Video

Start compiling a list of names and addresses of the Veterans you know and send them a thank you card this year. Continue building out your list and make a tradition of sending these out each year. It doesn’t take long to send a welcome gift to a Veteran or deployed service member. Here are some letter-writing tips, specifically for troops, to get you started.

4. Organize a Care-Package Packing Party

If you don't know someone currently stationed overseas, contact a nearby base or an organization like Blue Star Moms to identify troops in need. Here are some ideas for what deployed troops really want in their care packages.

5. Get Children Involved

For young children, a fun project is a great way to start teaching about the holiday and its importance. There are various ways to help children learn about Veterans Day, from coloring sheets to videos online.

6. Encourage a Veterans Day Lesson Plan

Teachers, this one is for you! A timeline or short writing project is a great way for students to learn about the holiday's history. Consider organizing a creative writing contest with the theme of Veterans Day. Talk with the school and understand their requirements. You may find willing volunteer judges among student organizations, local Veteran organizations, active duty, reservists, teachers, or professors at a local university.

7. Invite a Veteran to Speak

Another great way to teach students about Veterans Day is by letting them hear from Veterans themselves. Inviting a parent, grandparent, faculty member or community member who is a Veteran to speak to your class is a great way to get involved.

Don't know any Veterans to invite? Contact your local VA; their Public Affairs Officer will likely identify a good guest speaker. Many Veterans also work at VA facilities and are typically happy to speak to students.

Celebrating Veterans in your Community

Our communities are better thanks to Veterans. This year, Veterans United is hitting the road to showcase how America’s communities are better #ThanksToVeterans. We’re traveling from coast to coast, celebrating Veteran camaraderie, community service and the countless ways Veterans continue to serve and strengthen our neighborhoods and our nation. The tour features our Military Advisors, the former senior enlisted leaders of each branch of the Armed Forces.

8. Thank Veterans in your Workplace

A simple thank you goes a long way. However, feel free to show extra appreciation by taking a Veteran from your office out to coffee or lunch. Keep in mind that Veterans are typically very humble and don't like creating a big to-do - simple things go a long way.

9. Support Veteran-Owned Businesses

Veteran-owned businesses are in every community. Google makes it easier to find in their business profiles via their Google My Business profile. It usually signifies via a "Veteran-Led" note on the profile. You can also use Veteran-owned business directories or ask friends in your community.

10. Make a Donation or Volunteer

There are many charities that help Veterans in need. Consider making a donation this Veterans Day to help those wounded or affected by service.

11. Observe a Moment of Silence

A more private way to show thanks is by observing a moment of silence. The Veterans Day moment of silence is typically observed for two minutes at 11:11 am every Veterans Day.

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