What Does Veterans Day Mean?
How to Support the Troops on Veterans Day and Beyond
Veterans Day is a day all about military veterans. A veteran is someone who has served in the military, but is no longer serving. But why do we honor them on this day? When did Veterans Day start? And how can you support veterans — on Veterans Day and beyond? Keep reading to find out these answers and more.
The U.S. military was officially founded on June 14, 1775. 144 years later — a year after WWI ended — America recognized the first Armistice Day, the precursor to Veterans Day. Armistice Day didn’t become a legal holiday until 1938.
This day was intended to be one that gave us a sense of solemn pride about those who served, and gratitude for new opportunities thanks to the sacrifices of those in the military. It was a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. After WWII, Nov.11 became a day to honor veterans of all wars, and the name of the observance became Veterans Day.
Sometimes people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. They have different purposes, though. Memorial Day is when we specifically remember those who have died in service to our country.
Veterans Day has evolved into a chance to show support for veterans — which you can do on your own, through Veterans Day events, or through a veteran support organization like Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) or one of the partners we support.
It is important to help veterans because they have sacrificed a lot in service to our country, including their safety, well-being, and time with their families. Many veterans also live with wounds of war — both visible and invisible.
WWP partners with organizations that offer ways for children to support and learn from veterans.
“Helping kids understand their parent’s service enables them to make sense of their own military-life experiences — and also helps them support and encourage the veterans in their lives,” said Raleigh Smith Duttweiler, National Military Family Association (NMFA) deputy director of public media.
NMFA recognizes military kids serve, too. The organization honors and celebrates service in all of its Operation Purple programs, including Operation Purple camps. NMFA encourages children and families to honor the veterans in their lives by sharing photos, videos, memories, and stories.
Our Military Kids sends children of service members “Top Secret” packages with a custom certificate, dog tags, wristband, and a check to be used toward an extracurricular activity while their parent is deployed or in recovery. These activities relieve some of the emotional and financial toll connected to stressful periods in military life and result in a 90% increase in the service member’s morale.
“At Our Military Kids, we have oriented new opportunities for families in the 120 days leading to Veterans Day, making it stand out in 2020,” said Kara Dallman, Our Military Kids’ executive director.
Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) exposes youth to veteran mentors through presentations, leadership panels, and experiential learning opportunities. Interacting with and learning about veterans is an impactful way to support those who served our country.
“There is tremendous value in having our veteran mentors play a role in shaping the lives and experiences of our nation’s youth, teaching them about character, leadership, and service,” said Amy Looney Hefferman, TMF vice president.
The simplest way to support a veteran is by thanking them for their service. It’s a small act that can have a lot of impact. When a teacher, parent, or role model recognizes the hard work you’ve done, doesn’t it feel good? Veterans feel the same when they are appreciated.
If there is a Veterans Day parade where you live, take the time to attend it. This show of support lets veterans know you are there for them and that their sacrifices matter to you.
Take some time to learn something new. Try reading a book about a significant time in our military history or about a specific person who served. You might be surprised about what their experiences were really like. Then take this knowledge with you as you consider other ways to support veterans.
Help veterans by volunteering with local veteran support organizations or community groups that are doing things to benefit our nation’s military members. The opportunities are endless and include a variety of tasks that play a part in giving back to those who gave so much to us.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.