Meaningful Ways to Honor the Service Men and Women in Your Life

Published: November 16, 2020

With Veteran’s Day just wrapping up, honoring those service men and women in our life is fresh on our mind. Rightfully so, they are important to respect and honor, and this is a great time of year to do so, but they really should be revered all year long.

Make it easy- a simple thank you.

One of the most considerate ways to show your respect to a service man or woman is to just say a simple thanks. As we have hopefully said in the past, a “thank you for your service,’ is perfectly adequate, and well-received by those who put their life on the line for our freedoms. Let someone you know of your appreciation, or if you see a soldier out in military clothing, a salute, and a kind word of thanks can really go a long way.

Teach your children to respect those they see in uniform - they can thank them as well! In leading by example, you set the tone for their treatment of not just servicemen and women, but everyone they meet.

Taking it a step further, you can send a thank you letter, whether by virtual means or postal. If there isn’t a family member or friend in your life that you can send a ‘thank you for your service note to; there are charities that can help guide you to one. One such organization is Operation Gratitude, through them you can register to write letters to troops that are deployed. Many service people say that the thank you notes they receive in care packages are their favorite part! On the subject of care packages.

Special Ways to Give Back

There are so many wonderful organizations that support our troops, both serving and veteran. They provide opportunities to volunteer and contribute services and goods. As mentioned previously, Operation Gratitude wonderfully connects volunteers with the troops to provide thank you notes, homemade knit hats or scarves, even Halloween candy - if you still happen to have any laying around!

If you’d like to look into other agencies, Blue Star Families is one that will connect you with the troops and help educate you as to what you can send, what some restrictions are, and some needed items. Some items to include in a care package include snacks, personal care items (razors, hand sanitizers, sunscreen, etc.) and activities- such as card games, art supplies, or stationary.

Listen!

Take the time to sit with a family member or friend who served (or is currently serving) in the military. Ask them about their time in the military and really give them your full attention. By listening, you show you actively care, and also gain insight to a way of life and experiences you may not have understanding of if you are a civilian. Some things to be mindful of when asking them about their service include; not asking about their injuries, time in battle zones, and making sure they are OK in answering your questions. It may mean a lot to older veterans to reminisce about the good times they had.

With the pandemic upon us, you can make a phone call or see if you can set up a video chat. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to connect with those we’re unable to see in person, you may yourself be surprised in what you learn.

Honor Those Lives Which are Lost

Visit the gravesite of veterans who are no longer with us, leave them flowers, or just spend time thinking good thoughts and prayers. Take the opportunity to clean up any dirt and debris and you can also proudly leave an American Flag as a sign of respect. Make a donation in a loved ones memory to a veterans organization. Reach out to family and share memories you have of those who are no longer with us.

It’s certainly the simple, basic gestures that really mean a lot to our brave service women and men. A simple thanks, a brief salute from a child, buying a coffee for the woman in fatigues behind you in line, it all is appreciated. Take the time to thank the veterans in your life, ones back at home, and those who are no longer with us.

 
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