Veterans Day is a Federal holiday that honors those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. We celebrate by giving thanks to men and women who have sacrificed for our freedoms and shown true patriotism for our great nation. If you know someone who is serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, let them know your gratitude today, tomorrow, and every day. Veterans Day is recognized every year on November 11th, which also coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day. To give thanks to our veterans who have served, here are some ways you can support the troops in a bright and meaningful way.
Donate to the Troops
Donations are a great way to show your appreciation for the troops. Not only are donations a generous gift to the deserving, but they bring smiles and gratitude to the soldiers as well. If you have some old cellphones you don't need, donate them to the non-profit, Cellphones for Soldiers. This organization founded in 2004, turns cellphones into free minutes and talk time for soldiers. According to their website, "Cellphones for Soldiers have provided more than 210 million minutes of free talk time and mail an estimated 3,200 calling cards a week. A cellular device with a value of $5 provides 2.5 hours of free talk for our heroes deployed." Another way you can help is by sponsoring a care package sent to a soldier or troop. Many organizations such as Operation Troop Aid and Operation Gratitude are available so you can make a monetary donation to send a care package. These care packages include toiletries, letters/postcards, magazines/books, snacks, and reminders of home. Books for Soldiers is another excellent organization where you can send books, magazines, games, and DVDs.
Show Appreciation with Letters
A gesture as simple as a handwritten letter or postcard from home can make any serviceman or servicewoman feel elated with joy. Organizations such as Operation Dear Abby and A Million Thanks make it possible to give a letter to every soldier by collecting letters throughout the year to send to the troops.
Support for Military Families
Having a member of the family deployed for a lengthy amount of time is hard on a family. Fortunately, there are organizations that are there to assist with military family's needs. A serviceman or woman deployed wants to know that their family is safe and financially secure while they are away - what a great opportunity to help out! Operation Home Front is a non-profit with a mission to help families that need financial assistance. These include food, home/apartment repair, essential home items, and travel expenses. If you have unused gift cards, donate them to Military Family Support organization where they will send the gift cards to a military family in need. Gas, grocery, and big-box store (Walmart or Target) gift cards will be most beneficial. The American Red Cross offers medical service to active duty, veterans, reservists and families across the country. Because everyone deserves the chance to continue their education, there are many organizations that rely on donations that award scholarships for kids whose parents have served in the military.
Volunteering is a selfless and rewarding way to serve our armed forces. If you are interested in volunteering you can check out the Corporation for National and Community Service for volunteer work near you or Military.com that lists many organizations (including those mentioned earlier) that offer plenty of volunteer opportunities.
Veterans, thank you for your service and dedication to our country!