Veterans Day – A Time to Honor Those That Serve

Nearly a century ago, on November 11 1918, an unusual meeting took place in the quiet French forest of Compiègne. Hiding from unwanted eyes in a railway carriage, the Allies and the German Empire signed an armistice, ending all fighting on the Western Front. Soldiers deployed to the main theatre of World War I could finally put down their arms, but The Armistice came too late for millions of civilians and military personnel, including over 100,000 Americans, who laid down their lives in the Great War.

Armistice Day has since been celebrated with “solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service”, as ordered by President Wilson. Over three decades later, in the aftermath of World War II, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day, and it is now observed to commemorate “all those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime”. Unlike Memorial Day, which celebrates those who made the ultimate sacrifice in war, the particular importance of Veterans Day is in thanking the living for their service.  

In many cities around the country, a Veterans Day Parade is organized to mark the occasion. In New York, over 25,000 active officers, veterans and families march together to show support and unity. You can get involved by greeting the paraders or volunteering to directly aid in event logistics.

Sending care packages is a great way to say thank you to veterans or to support those currently in service overseas, as well as their families waiting at home. You can send a package to somebody you know or get involved with one of many charities that support the troops. Consider donating wishlist items, handmade gifts, or funds to Operation Gratitude, which has sent nearly 2 million packages to date.

Veterans who sustained physical or mental injuries during their service are supported by the Wounded Warriors Project. With a mission to honor and empower battlefield survivors, the WWP runs a multitude of programs to provide medical, legal and social support to veterans in need. Click here to donate, or get involved by hosting a creative, one-of-a-kind fundraiser in your office, school, or even your backyard.

Although most of us will never fight for our country, there are nearly 19 million veterans in the US. There are many ways in which we can show our support and gratitude not only on November 11, but throughout the year. Click here to read about nine simple things you can do to help veterans at any time.

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