Lifestyle

5 Ways to Honor Your Local Veterans on Veterans Day

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While most of us are quick to post on social media, fly an American flag, or offer a quick handshake to a local servicemember on Veterans Day (November 11), many are unsure how to show our full appreciation for their service and sacrifice.

Below are five ways to truly honor veterans this Veterans Day:

1. Volunteer Your Time

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There are hundreds of volunteer organizations that work both directly and indirectly with veterans. Turn your appreciation into action by offering your time and energy to any one of these noble causes. Contact your local VFW or American Legion to see what upcoming events may be in need of volunteers. Offer assistance to a local elderly or disabled vet, or volunteer a few hours to a local veteran-owned business. Whatever your skill, put it to use in your community by helping out the veterans closest to you. Visit texvet.com/volunteer to search for opportunities available in your area.

2. Donate Your Dollars

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If you’re short on time, making a monetary donation is another great way to show support. There are many organizations that offer various forms of aid and assistance to our country’s servicemen and women. For instance, Homes for Our Troops builds specially-equipped homes for injured servicemembers. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers financial assistance and scholarships. The Gary Sinise Foundation creates and supports unique programs specifically for veterans. There are countless organizations dedicated to improving the lives of American veterans, and they can only continue to do so with the financial support of grateful citizens like you.

3. Take Time to Listen

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Taking time to have a real conversation with your neighbor seems to be a lost art in today’s virtual world! Veterans have a wealth of knowledge and interesting stories to share for those willing to listen. Of course, not every veteran will be willing to share the details of his or her time in the service, but many enjoy reminiscing and sharing their unique perspective. Rather than simply thanking them for serving their country, take a moment to open up a meaningful dialogue about their military service and how it has shaped their views on life and liberty.

4. Stay Informed

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How much do you really know about how our country’s military works? What is the status of current legislation regarding today’s active-duty troops and veterans? Which political leaders have a military background? Many people have little more than basic knowledge of America’s armed forces. One of the best ways to show your appreciation is to take the time to understand exactly what role the military plays in today’s world. Arm yourself with knowledge by reading (and verifying) information about the military’s mission and its history, and always exercise your rights by voting for people and policies that support veterans.

5. Pay it Forward

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The service of veterans is the cornerstone on which American freedom stands. It is important to appreciate both the rights and responsibilities of being an American and to work together to ensure that veterans’ sacrifices are not in vain. Honor a veteran this Veterans Day by being a good citizen, a good neighbor, and a good friend. Even the smallest good deed can go a long way towards making America a better place for everyone.