Meaningful Ways to Honor Veterans This Weekend

Nov 10, 2017

Veterans DayFollowing World War I, Americans began recognizing Armistice Day on November 11 as the first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which occurred “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Armistice Day became a national holiday in 1938, but there were many in the country who believed more should be done to honor all U.S. military veterans. Thus, a movement began to expand recognition to them on this day.

Since 1954, Veterans Day has been observed on November 11 to pay tribute to all who have served in the United States Armed Forces. If you would like to do more this year to show gratitude for the sacrifices and courage of these servicemen and servicewomen that have allowed us to enjoy our many freedoms, here are a few recommendations:

Say thank you, and encourage children to say it too: Since many veterans wear their uniforms on Veterans Day, don’t overlook this opportunity to walk up to those you come across, and say, “Thank you for your service.” As our members who have served in law enforcement or the military might tell those of us who are civilians, it’s a simple phrase that can’t be said enough. This is also a good time to take children to see veterans you know, and teach them how to show respect to those who have served.

Get out to a Veterans Day event: This weekend, there are a number of events being held throughout the Bay Area dedicated to honoring those who have served in the armed forces. A few of these include the Veterans Day Service in San Rafael, the San Jose Veterans Day Parade  and the Potomac Association’s Veterans Day Cruise on San Francisco Bay featuring the Alameda Naval Station, USS Hornet, Jeremiah O’Brien and submarine Pampanito. Find one near you at

Make a contribution: There are no shortages of worthy nonprofits in need of funds to help veterans and military families – from charities that build and donate specially-adapted custom homes for disabled veterans to organizations that connect veterans to essential services.  For helping in choosing one, visit

Write to a veteran: Expressing gratitude in writing is a powerful way to communicate to veterans that their service is not forgotten. Don’t know any veterans you would like to write? Visit A Million Thanks for information on where to send a letter. If sitting down to write a hand-written letter on stationary is overwhelming, consider sending a postcard or E-card instead.

Visit a VA hospital or assisted living facility: Loneliness is a major problem among many older veterans, so spending time with one to honor their service on this day can lift their spirits and provide needed social interaction. Consider volunteering your time to activities that VA hospitals and assisted living facilities may have planned for Veterans Day, such as a special luncheon. Also keep in mind that places like these often need volunteers throughout the year.

Don’t forget to ask them about their service: While many of us have friends or family members that have been a part of the armed forces, the subject of their time in the service is probably not something that regularly comes up in conversation. This weekend is an opportune time to have a meaningful conversation with a veteran you know about this time in their lives. You might ask them to share the reason they decided to serve in the military, how they picked their branch and some of their best experiences while on active duty. By listening attentively, you are communicating your respect for what they have done to protect and defend our country.

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