Are you wanting to thank a veteran, but don’t know where to start? It’s easy to see that after decades of war, many Americans want to thank and appreciate veterans for their service, but they aren’t exactly sure how to do that. I get it. It can feel overwhelming, especially for kids to think about that kind of stuff. But I have to share, thanking a veteran comes in all shapes and sizes. Often times, it’s the simplest gestures of kindness and gratitude, which help a veteran feel appreciated.
For many Americans, Veterans Day often is an extra day off school for the kids or a long weekend enjoyed in November, but the meaning of this holiday runs much deeper. Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day because that was the month, day and hour (November 11, 1918 at 11:00 am) that World War I ended. It was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Sadly, we know it wasn’t the last one.
On Veterans Day we have a unique and special opportunity to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans and the selfless sacrifices they’ve made to keep our country safe. This November 11th I’d like to challenge all families–parents and kids alike–to take a small part of your day to serve veterans in their community through a simple gesture.
So if you’d like to thank a veteran this Veterans Day, but feel unsure about where to begin, consider these simple kid-friendly acts of kindness:
1. Say ‘Thanks for your service.”
Thank a veteran by just saying “Thank you for serving.” It`s that simple. Many veterans wear a special hat or button which would identify them. You will see veterans at many parades and special events. That is the simplest way to make a veteran feel appreciated.
Plus, when a child thanks a veteran it is actually like a double dose of gratitude, and I will tell you why: A child learned to thank a veteran from another adult–whether it be a parent, a teacher or someone else–another person was integral in that thank you. All veterans know this. So when your child takes the time to thank a veteran for their service, it’s pretty special.
2. Pray for veterans
Prayer is a powerful thing. You can simply pray together at home for veterans. You can also pray for veterans within your church community or request that it be a part of Sunday sermon. You could also tell a veteran you are praying for him. It is incredibly meaningful and comforting for both retired and active duty military service members to receive prayers.
3. Make a care package for the troops.
Have your children create a card, picture or care package to be sent overseas to a Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor or Coastguardsman actively serving. Visit the sites AnySoldier.com or SoldiersAngels.org to discover how and where to send your special items.
Nowadays, care packages are crazy creative and often made around a special theme such as Thanksgiving or fall. If you are looking for care package inspiration, check out my military care package board on Pinterest.
4. Deliver a homemade gift to a veteran.
You can also support veterans in your local area by taking a special homemade craft or goodie to a nearby Veteran’s hospital or Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (VFW) post to show your appreciation for their service. If you are looking for simple craft ideas to inspire you and your kids, check out 100+ Patriotic Crafts and Activities from Kids Activities Blog! For patriotic dessert inspiration, check out 60+ Patriotic Desserts from Something Swanky!
5. Attend a parade.
Attend a Veterans Day parade in your local area. To find one near you visit Vet Friends, where you can do a simple search. Teach your kids to stand and clap for veterans marching past. This is a huge act of gratitude!
6. Spend time with a Veteran.
Invite a veteran to your home on Veterans Day and share a meal together. It could be a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, or any friend or relative that is a veteran. Or skip the cooking altogether and treat a veteran to dinner at a local restaurant.
Talk to your local veterans’ organizations, American Legion or Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, to see how you can help. Volunteering may be as simple as bringing a warm meal to a home-bound vet that your kids helped make. You could also offer to help with a home maintenance or yard work and allow your kids to pitch in. Finally, if you aren’t able to directly serve a veteran in your area, check out Fisher House, an organization dedicated to helping military families of soldiers in the field. Veterans do appreciate knowing their families are well taken care of when they are far from home.
I hope you all find a special and unique way to thank a veteran this week! And remember, if you aren’t able to do something special for veterans this Veterans Day, that’s okay! Veterans appreciate and accept simple acts of kindness and gratitude any day of the year.
For more on military life, check out…
- When Parenting Alone Gets Lonely in Military Life
- Best Military Family Resources Everyone Should Know
- How YOU Can Support the Troops This Veteran’s Day!
- 4th of July Scavenger Hunt for Kids!