Every year on Veteran’s Day, organizations and communities across America hold events to recognize the men and women who have served our nation as members of the United States Armed Forces.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
365 days a year, active-duty military personnel are working to protect and serve their fellow citizens and the interests of our nation at home, and abroad. What if we did more to serve them in return — without waiting for Veteran’s Day to roll around again?
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
6 Ways to Support Veterans in Your Community
Send a Care Package or Letter
Operation Gratitude sends individually addressed care packages to the military community: current military members as well as veterans, wounded warriors, and their caregivers. As more American troops return to civilian life, the Operation Gratitude veterans program has been growing. They also host a letter-writing campaign encouraging everyone to write handwritten letters of gratitude to veterans.
Help Keep Veterans Off the Streets
The Department of Veterans Affairs' Stand Down program is designed to help homeless veterans "combat" life on the streets. One to three day Stand Down events provide food, shelter, clothing, and health screenings to homeless and unemployed veterans. Contact your local VA hospital in the VA Medical Center Directory to find a program in your community.
Sponsor a Companion Dog for a Veteran
More than a third of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have or will experience post-traumatic stress disorder, and veterans of past conflicts are still dealing with traumatic memories of their time in the service. Coping with PTSD puts stress not just on veterans, but also their families and friends.
Puppies Behind Bars equips prisoners to train companion dogs for veterans with PTSD. Donors can sponsor a dog and receive updates on the dog's training and life with his or her veteran.
(Know a veteran dealing with PTSD? The VA offers the PTSD Coach Online to help veterans learn to manage symptoms, develop ways to cope, and find professional help.)
Give a Veteran a Ride
Medical care is needed for some veterans for the rest of their lives. Disabled American Veterans provides free transportation to men and women who can't travel to Veterans Affairs medical facilities on their own. You can volunteer to drive a van for those who need a lift, advocate for veterans, or donate to the cause.
Share Their Stories
The Library of Congress is collecting the tales of veterans of every war with the Veterans History Project. If you are related to a veteran or know one who has a story to tell, the Library of Congress wants to hear it. Help veterans share their stories before it's too late.
Say Thank You
So many veterans have never heard the words "thank you." If you know a veteran or see someone in a military uniform, say something. It may make his or her day — and yours.
Remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation, and pray for soldiers at home and abroad who continue to fight the good fight on our behalf, for their families, and for our nation’s leaders.
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