Here Are Suggestions For How You Can Properly Thank A Veteran And Show Your Appreciation For Their Service
November 11 each year is Veteran’s Day. Join Pegasus home health care professionals in Agoura and elsewhere in expressing gratitude for the sacrifices vets have made. We offer these tips on how to properly thank a veteran for their service.
It may seem odd that just saying thank you for your service is not always the best idea. The problem is that it’s become a cliche. For many veterans, thank you is a meaningless expression.
Unfortunately, some individuals confuse Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Veteran’s Day honors all veterans, although many reserve it now those who are still living.
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. It’s set aside to honor Americans who have died while serving in the military.
Veteran’s Day Has A Long History
Veteran’s Day was originally Armistice Day. An armistice is an agreement to end fighting. World War I fighting stopped when an armistice was signed.
(The armistice didn’t end the war. WWI ended on June 2019 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed.)
The signing of the armistice took place at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918. It’s commonly referred to as “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Armistice Day was meant to honor soldiers who had not survived the war.
The 1918 Armistice Day was primarily a celebration of the end of the fighting. It’s since become a day marked by moments of silence at 11:00 a.m. Many communities and individuals also participate in commemorative services.
In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a legal holiday. It was intended to be a day dedicated to world peace. Unfortunately, although WWI was called the “war to end all wars,” numerous wars have followed.
Armistice Day was changed to Veteran’s Day by another act of Congress in 1954. Veteran’s Day is meant to honor veterans of all wars. States picked when they wanted to celebrate the day.
In 1978, President Ford signed legislation making November 11 Veteran’s Day. It’s now a day intended to honor all veterans. It’s a time to recognize “their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
This is what you are saying thank you for when you speak to a veteran.
The veteran you wish to thank may be a friend or family member. In that case, you probably know the right thing to say. Thanking a stranger is different.
That person might react negatively. Some veterans may feel that you don’t know what you’re thanking them for. The one-size-fits-all thank you makes individuals feel anonymous.
You are probably aware of the various recent wars and fighting. The news media keeps you informed of the generalities. But unless you have been deployed in a war zone, there’s no way you can know what soldiers have experienced.
So, if they’re comfortable talking about it, ask a veteran about their experiences. If not, show an interest in what they’re doing now. Have they found a job, or going to school, re-integrating into civilian life?
They Sacrificed More Than You Realize
Remember that they have left home to go to another country. They left behind what most Americans regard as a normal life. Their absences cost them treasured relationships with friends and family.
They missed out on anniversaries, birthdays, even funerals. They gave up finishing their education at the school of their choice. Promotions and pay raises in the civilian workforce passed them by.
An amputee gave up more than time. Some vets have seen their best friends die. Some came home with invisible mental or emotional wounds from which they’ll never recover.
These are some of the sacrifices you’re acknowledging when you offer a sincere thank you.
It’s also important to remember that each veteran is different, and that affects their response. A WWII veteran had a much different homecoming than a Vietnam veteran. A draftee doesn’t feel the same about war as a volunteer does.
Show Appreciation By Doing More Than Saying Thank You
If you want to show your appreciation by more than saying thank you, veterans have lots of suggestions for you. These include:
- Supporting organizations dedicated to helping veterans. Consider ones like the Wounded Warrior Project or Hiring Our Heroes.
- Donating frequent flyer miles. The Hero Miles Program helps families be with wounded veterans who are undergoing medical treatments. Professionals can also donate pro bono hours.
- Volunteering. You have a lifetime of skills. There is no end of programs designed to assist veterans and their families which could use your expertise.
- Hiring a veteran or their spouse. If you’re not in a position to hire someone, patronize businesses that do hire those who have served. Encourage businesses to offer military discounts.
Look around your community, and you’ll find the best way to show your support and appreciation.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We provide home health care to all who need it in Agoura and our other locations. We hire, support, and thank all veterans.