Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is an important day in our country to show gratitude for the sacrifices veterans and active duty members of the military make to keep us safe. Veterans Day is celebrated Nov. 11 because the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month in 1917 is when the armistice between Germany and the Allied forces came into effect, ending World War I. The day was celebrated for the first time on Nov. 11, 1918 as Armistice Day, and was celebrated as such until 1954 when the official name of the day changed to Veterans Day.
In addition to Veterans Day being a day for individuals to honor and thank veterans, there is also an official National Veterans Day Ceremony held each year at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. with the laying of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 22 million veterans are alive today in the United States. Each and every veteran has made sacrifices in order to protect our freedom, and Veterans Day is a great time to thank them for that. Keep in mind that the families of veterans and military members make sacrifices too. Because their service is so important, we have compiled a list of ways to give back to veterans today.
Eight Ways To Give Back
Thank all of the veterans you meet. Not sure what to say exactly? Simply saying "Thank you for your service," although it is a small act, can mean a lot to a veteran. If you are looking for other ways to say thank you, check out this list.
Attend a local parade or visit a war memorial. Many memorial sites will have special programs on Veterans Day, which can be a great learning opportunity for your kids. Looking for one in your area? Check the Veterans Affairs website and click the 2014 Regional Sites link to download a list of locations.
Bake cookies for a local veterans' hospital or nursing home. When you hand-deliver your cookies, you might have the chance to stay and visit with a veteran for part of the day. Don't miss out on the opportunity to say thank you and listen to their stories.
Observe a moment of silence. The Veterans Day Moment of Silence act calls for the President to proclaim two minutes of silence on Veterans Day, starting at 3:11 p.m. (Atlantic Standard Time). This moment of silence is meant to quietly reflect on and honor all that veterans have done throughout the history of the nation. While this is done at 3:11 p.m., it is common for other places such as schools to also observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m. local time.
Take a veteran out to eat. Many chain restaurants will have discounted meals for veterans in appreciation of their service. Some coffee houses might offer a free cup of coffee for veterans as well.
Knit blankets or hats for your local veterans' hospital or donate a crafted item through a program like Soldiers' Angels.
Spend the day with your kids creating hand-made cards or letters. Find a program that you can send these letters through or take them to veterans you know personally.
Fly a flag at full staff. Wondering what the etiquette is for flying a flag? The American Legion has a helpful list of FAQs for flying a flag. If you're ever wondering what days to fly your flag at half-staff, check out the half-staff calendar.
Spread Hope, Strength, And Joy This Veterans Day
Showing gratitude, honoring veterans, and giving your time or thanks to others are all things to embrace this Veterans Day. In addition to spending the day with a veteran, attending a parade, or observing a moment of silence, one way you can show gratitude today is to consider donating a vehicle to Wheels For Wishes in honor of a child in your community who is battling a life-threatening medical condition.
The proceeds from your vehicle donation will benefit your local chapter of Make-A-Wish, helping to grant the wish of a child in your community. Many wish kids have military aspirations themselves and wish to spend the day at a base with the Marines, Navy, Army or Air Force. You can see some of these wishes by reading about Alyssa's wish to be in the Army, Jorge's wish to be in the Marines, and Ethan's wish to become a Blue Angel.
No matter what a child’s wish is, it brings an increased feeling of hope, joy, and strength, which enriches the human experience as a whole. Your generous vehicle donation can make that happen!
If you are ready to make a donation, simply call 1-877-431-9474 or fill out an online vehicle donation form today.