Veterans Day is a US holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. In 1918, during World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany. Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, November 11th later became a federal holiday in the US in 1938. Following World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day officially became known as Veterans Day.
Veterans Day is an important day, meant for showing appreciation to members of our military, both past and present. We’ve put together some suggestions of appropriate ways to honor the veteran(s) in your life, as well as meaningful ways to contribute to veterans everywhere.
Ask a Veteran About Their Service
As a genealogist, you likely know how powerful and important shared stories are. If you have a veteran in your family, November 11 is a perfect day to spend some time learning about their time in the service. Put together your own list of questions, or head over to the Veterans History Project and check out the notes they’ve put together for interviewing a veteran. Take notes or make an audio or videotape. Find a way to preserve what your relative remembers from their time in the military. By recording the personal stories of these individuals, we can give the genealogists and historians of the future a stronger chance to know what things were like for these veterans.
Visit a VA Hospital or Veterans Affair Facility
Upon returning from service, wounded troops often require extensive help in order to adjust to the dramatic changes that have taken place in their lives. Spending time as a volunteer in a VA Hospital makes a difference in the lives of our nation’s hospitalized veterans. Whether it’s taking a wounded soldier to a movie, tutoring wounded troops who want to develop new skills for job training, or simply spending time talking – your contribution can have an impact. For more information on how you can help, visit SaluteHeroes.org.
Help a veteran share their story
In hopes of preserving first hand accounts of WWII, Ancestry.com has been asking people to interview and share stories from WWII military vets, which you then can submit to them via video. Ancestry.com will then take the videos that have been submitted and place them in a searchable database to help supplement the lost WWII records for these soldiers. Learn more here.
Write a Letter
If you know a veteran, writing a letter or sending a card can be a simple yet meaningful way to show your appreciation for the sacrifices that they have made. If you don’t know someone who has served, many organizations, such as A Million Thanks, sponsor letter writing campaigns for veterans. It’s never too late to write a letter of gratitude to a Veteran.
- Please make sure your letters will fit in a standard size envelope, but DO NOT put letters inside individual envelopes.
- Include your own name and address in the body of the letter
- Please do not use glitter
- Send multiple letters together in one large mailing envelope or box
Please send as many letters (or copies with original signature) as you would like by regular mail only to:
A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd, #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861
Attend a Veterans Day Parade
Veterans Day Parades happen all throughout the US on November 11, from small towns to big cities. If you’re looking for an event near you, check out http://www.military.com‘s list of notable events.