Our Veterans sacrificed a comfortable life at home to go fight for our rights and freedoms, occasionally making the ultimate sacrifice – their lives. Their struggles should not go ignored and we have a duty to them to honor them on their return. There are many small gestures you can make to show a veteran you are grateful and appreciative of their service. Below are ten of those small gestures you can do for a veteran.
Volunteer at a local VA Hospital
The VA Hospital program is run and managed through the Veterans Health Administration. Their mission is to provide much deserved, top-line service to our veterans. Many veterans are alone in these hospitals, and the ratio of veterans to healthcare providers isn’t proportional. They can always use volunteers. Find a local VA Hospital and volunteer.
A military lifestyle is not only difficult on the service member, it is also hard on that individuals friends and family. Operation Homefront’s mission is to create strong, stable families that can survive the struggles that come along with life with a service member. You can donate to their cause or volunteer through resources on their website.
Pay for a Meal
If you see a veteran out for a meal, or a cup of coffee, offer to pay for them. It seems like a small gesture, but can go a long way in demonstrating your appreciate for their service. If you have a business, offer veterans discounts or incentive programs to show you care.
Listen to Their Stories
While stories from time in service can be scary and difficult to listen to, it is important to show you care by listening to a veteran. Often this simple gesture can be the most appreciated, as it gives the person a chance to explain their time in the military and process their experiences.
Visit a National Cemetery
Visit a National Cemetery such as Arlington or Gettysburg and quietly pay your respects for those veterans who have fallen, either during active duty or after coming home. If you want to take it a step further, you can volunteer at these facilities, doing things like upkeeping the grounds, or working with the support communities.
Send a Card
Is your neighbor coming back from an active duty tour? Send them a card to express your gratitude for their service and letting them know you’re happy they’ve returned safely. Send regards to their families as well.
Acknowledge Military Holidays
Celebrating or acknowledging military holidays demonstrates your gratitude for the service provided by military personnel and shows your support for veterans. There are many other military holidays besides of Veteran’s Day.
Show a veteran they didn’t serve in vain. Do your civic duty and get out there and vote to show you care about the integrity of your country that our veterans fought to protect. It is never too late to register and participate in our democratic system.
Give a Handshake and a Thank You
While it could be intimidating to approach a complete stranger, a handshake and a thank you can go a long way, and is possibly the most simple gesture you can give. Looking someone in the eye can show your gratitude with little words.
Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops builds houses for veterans who were severely injured in combat. Their mission is to provide adaptive homes that allow veterans to rebuild their lives. You can volunteer to build, or donate money to the cause.