Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was originally established as a U.S. holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially ended on November 11, 1918. In 1954, after both World War II and the Korean War, the U.S. Congress changed the word “Armistice” to “Veterans,” and Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Veterans Day is a day for us to stand united to respect and honor the patriotism and sacrifice of those who have served our country. “Thank you for your service.” As citizens who enjoy great freedom and security as a result of our nation’s strong military, many Americans express their gratitude when they see a Service Member in uniform. How do we honor the veterans – those who served their country with valor and are now separated from the Armed Forces and who don’t wear their uniforms anymore? New Hampshire has the 8th highest veteran population per-capita in the country. How and when do we thank them?
Here are some ways to show your appreciation (from Military.com):
- Show Up! Attend a Veterans Day event in your area — an honest-to-goodness parade or service for veterans. Roy Rogers said, “We can’t all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” Veterans Day is a great opportunity to do just that.
- Donate! There are many veterans service organizations who offer all kinds of support, services and appreciation for our service members.
- Fly a flag! Make sure you’re observing the proper rules for display. Check out Military.com’s guide to the flag.
- Ask someone about their service! Veterans Day is a great time to ask them about someone’s service. Ask: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service? Did anyone else in your family serve? Why did you choose to go into the service branch you did? Be supportive without being intrusive. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.
- Write! If you know a veteran, write a simple postcard or e-card that recognizes them on Veterans Day. If you don’t know a veteran, look up the closest military installation and send one there. Small acts of recognizing someone’s service, even anonymously, are appreciated.
- Visit a VA Hospital! Find out what the policies are at your nearest VA hospital for interacting with patients or volunteering, and spend the day with a veteran. Many VA facilities will have events on Veterans Day. Even if you don’t interact with a veteran, helping at a VA facility is a way to give back.
- Get Outdoors with a Veteran! Invite a veteran or a military family to explore a national park — admission is free for all visitors on Veterans Day. Being outside helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional well-being, and is a great way to celebrate the day with a veteran.
Easterseals NH Military & Veterans Services (MVS) offers Care Coordination to veterans of all eras – from World War II veterans to those who are currently serving. Services are free, confidential, and provided locally – in the veteran’s home or other convenient location. Care Coordinators are community caseworkers with extensive training in military culture. Their job is to do whatever it takes to help service members, veterans, and their families thrive. Care Coordinators help those in crisis situations, and are also available to help families plan ahead and avoid problems when facing life changes and challenges. If you know a service member, veteran, or military family in need, please contact the Program Coordinator, Easterseals NH Military & Veterans Services, at 603.315.4354.
Veterans Count, the philanthropic program of ESNH MVS, provides emergency financial assistance to veterans for critical and unmet needs. Veterans Count raises awareness about the challenges that can result from military service and raises money to help address these needs. To learn more about Veterans Count or to make a donation, please visit vetscount.org/nh. Or, mail your donation to Veterans Count, Easterseals NH, 555 Auburn St, Manchester, NH 03103.