Veterans Day: How To Celebrate During A Pandemic
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“The best way to thank a Veteran is to be an American worth fighting for.”
– Author Unknown
The holidays are looking a little different this year. As Veterans Day approaches, we’ve been thinking deeply about how we can support our Veterans and military families while adhering to social distancing guidelines and keeping everyone safe. Just because we can’t all be together doesn’t mean we can’t act on our appreciation and show our fellow Americans in uniform some much-deserved love. Small acts of kindness can have a big impact.
In that spirit, we’ve put together a list of ten fun, safe, and meaningful ways to celebrate Veterans Day this year.
- Reach Out To A New Neighborhood Family
Despite the pandemic, military families continue to PCS to new duty stations, leaving schools, jobs, and friends behind to start anew. Moving to a new place is a challenge any time, but a mid-pandemic move brings unprecedented challenges. Moving to a new community in a time when we are literally not supposed to interact with people can add tremendous stress and feelings of isolation for our service members and their families. Consider dropping a card in their mailbox welcoming them to the neighborhood and, if you’re comfortable, include your phone number in case they have any questions about the area. Chances are they’d appreciate recommendations on everyday things like grocery stores, hair salons, safe parks, and local running routes!
Donate To A Veterans Charity Or Service Organization
Increased isolation, financial stress, and many other factors brought on by the pandemic have amplified concerns of Veteran mental health — in fact, Veteran Suicide Prevention is currently the No. 1 priority for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Supporting organizations like Endeavors that provide high-quality mental health care to Veterans and military families is an easy way to make a big impact on the lives of those in need. It’s a way to tell those who have given so much for our freedom, “We see your struggle, we appreciate your sacrifice, and we have your back.” (Click here to donate to Endeavors and support Veteran Supportive Services in Texas.)
Whether you have tons of free time or just a few quick minutes, there are plenty of ways to give back to Veterans without ever leaving your house. A quick Google search for “Volunteer For Veterans Virtually” produces hundreds of nonprofits and community organizations looking for people who can help in any number of ways, such as sending care packages with homemade goodies to deployed service members; hosting virtual baby showers for active-duty female service members and spouses of deployed service members; or providing support to military chaplains, wounded service members, and military families.
Visit A Veteran Memorial or Cemetary
We could all use a little outdoor time right now, and what better way to learn and reflect on the sacrifices of our service members than against the crisp, colorful backdrop of fall? The Department of Veteran Affairs maintains 151 national cemeteries in 42 states and Puerto Rico, plus 34 soldiers’ lots and monument sites. Placing flowers on the grave of a Veteran is a beautiful way to honor everything they lived for, whether you knew them personally or not. Whether you are seeking a few minutes of quiet personal reflection, a day out with the kids, or a meaningful family photoshoot, a Veteran memorial is a wonderful place to express appreciation and celebrate freedom.
Celebrate Your Heroes With A Good Book
Whether you read aloud as a family or alone with a cup of tea, a good book featuring stories about Veterans is an excellent way to celebrate the many Americans who have served our country throughout history. From children’s picture books to biographies to epic novels, there’s something for everyone! Check out this list from Goodreads!
Send A Care Package To A Deployed Service Member
Do you know a service member currently on deployment? Deployments during the pandemic have been especially trying for our Americans in uniform — many service members are experiencing extended deployments with heavy personal restrictions out of caution for the pandemic. A little bit of love from home can go a long way right now, and it’s so easy to send a care package! There are tons of fantastic organizations that give you step-by-step guidance for curating and sending a helpful and meaningful care package to servicemembers overseas.
Support Veteran and Military Spouse-Owned Businesses
Know a Veteran or military spouse who owns a small business? Send some love their way by supporting their business! Many of these businesses face unique challenges, especially if the family is moving around a lot. Many Veteran-owned businesses make it a point to employ wounded or discharged Veterans, so your dollars are directly helping those who served. Explore businesses you’ve never visited before, and give them a share or positive review online! You could probably get all of your holiday shopping done by doing this!
Do A Themed Art Project!
Veterans Day crafts can be a fun and thoughtful way for kids to celebrate our nation’s heroes! Break out the glue and the glitter and the popsicle sticks and get creative! Even better, show off your artwork by sticking it in your front window for the neighborhood to see!
Write A Letter To A Soldier
Whether it’s a letter to a soldier you’ve never met before or a personal note to someone you know, a handwritten note of thanks is one of the most heartfelt and personal ways to express appreciation. You can even become penpals with a soldier on deployment, which is a wonderful way to give encouragement, build a friendship, and provide a connection to home.
One of the greatest ways you can support those who have served is by voting! By voting in favor of policies and legislation that support the health and wellbeing of our active duty and Veteran service members and their families both during and after active duty service, you can help implement life-changing action. Celebrate early by voting in your local and national elections!
About Endeavors’ Veteran Supportive Services
Endeavors, a San Antonio based nonprofit, is a longstanding national nonprofit agency that provides various programs and services supporting children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness, disabilities, disasters, or emergencies. Endeavors has served vulnerable people in need since 1969 through personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.
About Cohen Veterans Network
Cohen Veterans Network is a 501(c)(3) national not for profit philanthropic network of mental health clinics for post-9/11 veterans and their families. CVN focuses on improving mental health outcomes, via a network of outpatient mental health clinics for veterans and their families in high-need communities, in which trained clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions. The network currently has 19 clinics in operation serving veterans and their families across the country. Learn more about Cohen Veterans Network.