By Megan Taylor
The month of November holds several important days, such as Thanksgiving, Election Day, and one of the most important—Veterans’ Day. This day, observed on November 11th, is set aside to honor the military men and women who fought for our country.
Originally called Armistice Day, the holiday was created on November 11th, 1919, to commemorate the first anniversary of the end of World War I. (The war ended in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.) In 1938, the day was established as a federal holiday and almost twenty years later, in 1954, President Eisenhower changed the day’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans’ Day.
Every year, numerous events are held throughout the United States to remember our veterans. Gather up your family and friends and choose one of these ideas to salute our heroes this Veterans Day.
- Attend a parade: Several parades are happening in the area, including one in downtown Winston-Salem on Saturday, November 7th.
- Capture a veteran’s story: Sit down and listen to a veteran’s story about their life and military experience. Take it one step farther and create a scrapbook for the veteran and their family with their story and pictures. Also, you can get their story put into the Veterans’ History Project at the Library of Congress. This project was started by Congress in 2000 and collects first-hand accounts from veterans from World War II up to the Iraq War.
- Write thank-you notes: Get a group together and write thank-you notes for veterans in the VA hospital or at local nursing homes. The closest VA hospital is the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury.
- Contribute to the Honor Flight Network: This program flies veterans throughout the United States to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials. Regional airport hubs are available and families or friends can submit a veteran’s information to attend a trip. There are also opportunities for you to donate, sponsor and volunteer with the Honor Flight Network.
- Donate new or pre-owned DVDs to veterans: The organization, DVDs4Vets, allows people a chance to give DVDs two ways: you can send your donations to your local VA hospital or mail them to the DVDs4Vets organization in New York. Portable DVD players are also accepted.
- Bake desserts or call veterans you know: Send a sweet treat to a veteran in your family or to a veteran you know. In addition, give them a call and let them know you are thinking about them.
- Sew a blanket, scarf or hat: This is a great idea for those who are crafty or love to knit or crochet. Through Operation Gratitude, you can help create a care package for a veteran. Within the care package, you can include a hand-made scarf, hat, or blanket, in addition to several other things that can be collected and donated to the organization, such as candy, cookies and letters.
- Send a holiday card: The holiday season is just around the corner from Veterans’ Day. Remember veterans, active military members, and their families by sending them a holiday card through the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes. Contact your area Red Cross to find out times for card sorting and delivery. This is a great idea for large groups.
- Collect coupons for military families: Send your expired or unused coupons to military bases throughout the country and overseas through the Support Our Troops organization’s Troopons program.
- Volunteer at the local American Legion or VFW Organization: Spend some time in giving back to veterans through volunteering with non-profit organizations that work with veterans. Volunteer activities could include placing American flags on veterans’ graves, building homes, or preparing special lunches for them. Contact your local American Legion, VFW organization, or Department of Veteran Affairs to get involved.
For more information on these suggestions, visit each organization’s websites.
Take the time this Veterans’ Day to remember those who fought for your country. Honor the veterans you know and the ones you don’t know, not just on November
11th, but every day of the year. A simple token of appreciation can go a long way.