Honor our nation’s veterans either as an individual, unit, or department by participating in activities and events that show our appreciation for our country’s heroes.
For Veterans Day — and every day, the American Legion Auxiliary encourages Americans to take the time to thank veterans, servicemembers, and their families, and engage with them in meaningful ways which recognize their sacrifices for our nation. One way to do that is to make Veterans Day a time you commit to volunteering for a worthy cause. Make Veterans Day — Nov. 11 — your Day of Service to others!
Why serve on National Days of Service?
National Days of Service are a great way for you to help make a national impact while serving your local community.
Why should ALA members get involved in National Days of Service?
National Days of Service are terrific ways for American Legion Auxiliary units and members to fulfill ALA’s nearly century-old tradition of selfless service while introducing the Auxiliary to our communities. It is important that the American Legion Auxiliary members spread the word about ALA’s mission of honoring and helping our military heroes and their families.
Here’s an added benefit: Since National Days of Service tend to attract media attention, ALA members’ participation in activities and events at these times are chances for the Auxiliary to get positive publicity for our service to veterans, servicemembers, military families, local youth, and our communities.
Not sure how you can serve on Veterans Day?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Organize a care-package packing party. If you don’t know someone currently stationed overseas, work with your unit/district/department to identify troops in need. Also, become familiar with what deployed troops really want in their care packages.
- Visit a veterans’ hospital. If you don’t have a local VA office, contact an assisted living or nursing home facility nearby. Chatting with elderly or injured veterans can brighten their day, plus you’re likely to hear some fascinating stories about their time in the service (if he or she wants to talk about it). Flowers, cards, or an activity might be a pleasant surprise for them. Before your visit, ask hospital officials if it’s ok to bring something at the time of your visit, and what would be an appropriate activity or gift for the veteran(s) you are visiting.
- Get creative. For young children, a fun project is a great way to start teaching about the holiday and its importance.
- Encourage your child’s teacher to develop a Veterans Day lesson plan. A timeline or short writing project is a great way for students to learn about the holiday’s history. Consider organizing a creative writing contest with the theme of Veterans Day. Talk with school officials to get their approval, and to learn their requirements for such projects. You may find willing volunteer judges among student organizations, local veteran organizations, active duty military personnel, reservists, teachers, or professors at a local university.
- Invite a veteran to speak to students about what it’s like to be in the military. Don’t know any veterans to invite? Contact your local VA office’s public affairs department. Someone there might be able to identify a possible guest speaker. There are many veterans who work at VA facilities and would be happy to speak to students.
- Wear a red poppy to show support for veteran and active-duty servicemembers. The American Legion Auxiliary distributes red crepe paper poppies throughout the year, notably on National Poppy Day®, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day nationwide. Many of the poppies are handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation, and donations received in exchange for the flowers go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities. Contact your local American Legion office to find out where you can get one in your community.
- Take time out of the day to acknowledge veterans in your workplace. Consider an office-wide coffee break featuring patriotic-themed snacks and treats, such as these remembrance poppy cookies (information about these cookies can be found in the Members Only section of the ALA website, which is accessed by logging in). During the event, make sure to recognize each employee who is a veteran. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t miss anyone.
Honor veterans year-round
- Celebrate with service. Show your gratitude throughout the year in personal ways, such as by offering a veteran, servicemember, or military family a home-cooked meal or by giving them a thank-you note. You could also volunteer for a worthy cause as a way of honoring their service.
- Support veteran-owned businesses. It’s not always easy to identify which businesses are founded or operated by veterans. Contact your local chamber of commerce to see if they have any resources and check out this post to help you find veteran-owned businesses near you.
- Express thanks. Whenever you see someone in uniform, extend a word of gratitude or perform a small act of kindness to show how much their service means to you.
- Send a card. Start compiling a list of names and addresses of veterans you know and send each of them a thank-you card this year. Continue building your list and make a tradition of sending cards each year.
The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of veterans, servicemembers, and their families. The nonpartisan organization, founded in 1919, is committed to advocating for veterans’ issues, mentoring America’s youth, and promoting patriotism. It was founded to advance the mission of The American Legion, incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans service organization. Learn more at www.ALAforVeterans.org.