The first Veterans Day – then called Armistice Day – marked the end of WWI, on November 11, 1919. Since 1926, the United States has observed November 11 as a day to honor all American veterans – living or dead. It’s a day to give thanks and show support to those who’ve served for our country.
Below are six ways you can show your gratitude to our veterans this Veterans Day, as well as a heartwarming story on how two U.S. Air Force veterans reconnected after more than 50 years apart:
1. Attend A Veterans Day Event
Cities across the country will be holding parades, picnics and other festivities to celebrate those who have served. You can go online and search for events in your area. Veterans Day events are a great way to show up and show support.
Many veterans who’ve served our country sustain physical and psychological wounds that make the transition to civilian life a difficult one. By donating to a charity that supports veterans, you can directly help them financially, with employment, education, and wellness. Just make sure you’re doing your research on the organizations to ensure your contribution is going toward a noble cause.
3. Fly The American Flag
Did you know that the United States Flag Code says the American flag should especially be displayed on particular holidays, including Veterans Day? This Sunday, show your appreciation for our veterans by proudly flying the American flag.
4. Have A Conversation With A Veteran
You might have a family member, a friend or a neighbor who has served our country. Veterans Day is a great opportunity to ask this person about his or her service. Just don’t pressure him or her to talk about things that might be sensitive (like time spent in combat).
Military.com offers some good questions to get you started, such as: 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?
5. Write A Letter Of Gratitude
Show your gratitude to our veterans by sending a handwritten letter or postcard. You could send one to someone you know or send one anonymously. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude and A Million Thanks will send your letters of appreciation to U.S. military serving around the world.
Search online for volunteer opportunities in your area that helps veterans. Share your time, lend a smile or a helping hand, or a sympathetic ear to those who need it. We can all do something to give thanks.
Reconnecting With Old Military Friends
Two months ago, two U.S. Air Force veterans reconnected for the first time in more than 50 years.
Ray Cahoon of Wyoming and Roy Salmon of Florida met at Tachikawa Airfield in western Tokyo in 1957 where they were both stationed. Two years later, Cahoon was transferred and they lost touch.
Decades later, in Summer 2017, Salmon sent a letter to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle asking for help in finding his old friend. At 82-years-old, he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and thought it would be his last chance to find Cahoon.
Soon after, Cahoon replied. He was alive and well. The two old friends started exchanging letters and phone calls and on September 29, 2017 met in person for the first time after all these years.