Not all veterans like to be thanked for their service because they feel they were just doing their duty, and that many others they served with made the real sacrifices. Saying a simple "thank you" can be a respectful way to recognize military service, but there are a lot of other ways that go above and beyond. If you're looking for a different way to show your appreciation, try one of these ideas.
Honor Vietnam Vets
Remember Vietnam vets and those who served during times when veterans saw little to no support or appreciation from civilians when they returned home. Many Vietnam veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era faced scorn from the public. Outrage over the Vietnam War oftentimes led people to take their anger out on returning veterans, many of whom were drafted or didn't agree with the war themselves.
Help The Community
Do something to improve your community. Some veterans feel the best way to show gratitude for their service is to find a way to make a difference yourself. Doing something honorable with your life is a great way to exercise your freedom in a positive way.
Show respect not only for military members and veterans, but for those you interact with on a daily basis. Living respectfully can be a way to show veterans you are grateful for the freedom they fought to protect.
Many people forget that voting is a freedom many other countries don't get to enjoy. It's one of the many rights that veterans have helped preserve in their service. No matter how you vote, exercising your right to do so shows you appreciate the sacrifices made to ensure that right.
Help Make Veterans' Rights A Priority
Supporting policy makers or organizations that fight for veterans' rights can ensure more veterans have access to services they need. Veterans' interests aren't always at the forefront, which can lead to vets not receiving the care they need and the benefits they've earned.
Memorialize A Veteran
Many cities, parks and organizations have options for you to memorialize a loved one. Options might include buying a commemorative brick or paving stone in honor of a veteran, donating an inscribed bench, or even petitioning to have a park or building named in honor of a great veteran you know. Seeing veterans honored in this way can show other veterans that their own duty and sacrifice makes a difference and won't be forgotten.
Most veterans have firsthand experience with current events around the world, whereas many civilians don't stay up to date. Knowing what's going on outside the country and being informed on issues helps people understand the significance and sometimes necessity of war. Veterans appreciate knowing that even if people don't support military action, they at least understand its role rather than holding misconceptions.
Volunteer Your Time
Volunteer with an organization that provides free resources for veterans. Causes to get involved with may include manning phones at a veterans' hotline, working at a food shelf, driving veterans to medical appointments or assembling care packages. If you're a mental health professional this could also include offering free counseling by partnering with a reputable organization. Lawyers can give back by offering pro bono legal services to veterans struggling to claim benefits.
Help A Veteran Or Service Member's Family
If you have a friend or neighbor whose loved one was wounded or disabled in war, extend an offer to help. This may include offering to shovel snow, mow the lawn, watch the kids on occasion, carpool or bring over a meal from time to time.
Make A Donation
Support a veterans' organization by making a donation. Veterans' charities around the country help provide veterans with a better life. One easy way you can make a difference is by donating an unwanted car to Vehicles For Veterans. We accept most vehicles in any condition and provide free towing and a tax deduction. The proceeds your vehicle donation are given to charities that help disabled veterans. Donate your car now by calling 1-855-811-4838 or filling out an online car donation form.