Top 10 Ways to Thank a Veteran

(U.S. Air Force/Noah Sudolcan)
(U.S. Air Force/Noah Sudolcan)

Figuring out how to honor Veterans Day is hard for me. Each year, I puzzle over the best way to express my gratitude to the people who have served so that I don't have to.

I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one who worries over this. Here's a few ideas for thanking the veterans we come across both on Veterans Day and beyond.

Top 10 Ways to Thank a Veteran

1. Volunteer at a veteran's organization. The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Habitat for Humanity and the Home Depot Foundation just to name a very few all need volunteers to help with their veterans' outreach programs. Say thank you by giving your time.

2. Buy a meal for a homeless vet. We've all seen them -- they stand by the side of the road holding signs asking for food, money, warmth or all of the above. And while there's no way to make sure their veteran claim is legitimate that shouldn't matter. Buy the gentleman a sandwich and thank him for his service

3. Fly your flag. On our street, if someone puts up their flag for Independence Day or Memorial Day or Veteran's Day, everyone else on the street follows suit. Start early so folks get a chance to participate.

4. Send balloons to your local recruiters office. Recruiters work a tough job with long hours and little thanks. The smart stuff they tell recruits is ignored. The promises recruits swear the recruiter said are remembered forever. Send these guys a little cheer.

5. Ask a loved one for stories about their time in service -- and listen patiently. While some may not want to talk about their war experience, for others service was the best time of their lives. Take a few minutes to listen to stories of service from someone in your extended family.

6. Put a stamp on it. Nearly three million people serve in the United States military. Millions more have served in the recent past. You know a vet even if you think you don't. Put on your thinking cap and send a thank you card to everyone you know who has ever served in the military. What about your child's scout leader? Your sister's prom date? The guy who changes your tires at the Merchant's Auto?

7. Look for a community event. Whether you live near or far a base, there's without a doubt a veteran organization in your area hosting some kind of Veterans Day event. Hit up your local VFW or American Legion for the best leads, and then take the family out to join in the community fun.

8. Change your Facebook page to feature a favorite veteran--even if your vet is great great uncle Felix who you never met who served in WWI, run with it.

9. Just say "thank you." Take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service. A little recognition goes a long way.

10. Make your life worth dying for. Our veterans stand ready to fight for our freedom - strive to be worth the sacrifice.

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