By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
When first celebrated as Armistice Day, the day marked the end of World War I, formally recognized on the “11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month” in 1918.
Today we continue to celebrate the day as Veterans Day, still recognizing the original tie with November 11th. That means Veterans Day is on the same day every year — November 11th — regardless of on which day of the week it falls.
Veterans Day is an important day for showing appreciation to members of our military, past and present. If you’re looking for an appropriate way to honor a veteran in your life, here’s a list of suggestions to start you off:
Show Up! Attend a Veterans Day event in your area this weekend – not just a picnic with friends but an honest-to-goodness parade or service for veterans. Roy Rogers said, “We can’t all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” Veterans Day is a great opportunity to do just that.
Donate. There are tons of organizations who offer support, services and appreciation for our service members.
Ask about their service. You like to talk about yourself don’t you? Step outside yourself for a bit and ask them about their service. Some questions: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service?
Write. If you know a veteran, write a simple postcard or e-card that recognizes them on Veterans Day. If you don’t know a veteran, look up the closest military installation and send one there. Small acts of recognizing someone’s service, even anonymously, are appreciated.
Visit a VA Hospital. Find out what the policies are at your nearest VA hospital for interacting with patients or volunteering, and spend the day with a veteran. Many VA facilities will have events on Veterans Day or a special lunch you can help prepare. Even if you never interact with a veteran, helping at a facility is a way to give back.
Get together with a veteran. Invite a veteran or a military family to go to the car races, football game, fish, hike, workout. Being outside and with others helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional well-being, and is a great way to celebrate the weekend with a veteran.
And remember, you don’t have to be kind to veterans just on Veterans Day. Like police officers, they are here and have been there to protect us. Appreciate and support them regularly!
To those who have and are serving, We Salute You!