We’re humbled by the strength of heart, loyalty, and sacrifice of our military. As Veterans Day nears, we make it a priority to share our gratitude through personal connection, recognition, and thanks. Wondering how you can honor veterans this holiday? Here are some ways to show appreciation in your community.

Say thank you

A heartfelt “thank you” is the perfect way to honor a veteran, whether it is in person, via a phone call, or sent in a handwritten note.

Show your colors

Honor all veterans by flying the American flag throughout the weekend and holiday. Follow proper procedures when handling and hoisting your flag, such as never let it touch the ground and always let it fall free. Need a brush up on flag etiquette? Find it here.

Attend an event

Many cities and towns hosts parades to honor veterans. It’s a great way to participate in the ceremonial recognition and come together as a community.

We are a proud Army family. Veterans Day is a special day for us, we celebrate by all going to all the kids schools’ Veterans Day assemblies and to our hometown Veterans Day ceremony every year. Then we visit the local VFWs and American Legions throughout the day. 

Susan Torres, Army Reserve Soldier

Volunteer your time

Some local organizations host free dinners or breakfasts for veterans on the holiday. Show your thanks by donating goods or volunteering to serve or clean up at the event. Make it a family event and pass on the tradition of honoring those who have sacrificed for our freedoms.

Support veteran organizations

If you want to get more involved, there are a number of non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to improve the lives of veterans who have been injured, are battling illness, or are struggling financially. Military.com has a list of trusted organizations making a difference in the lives of veterans. Additionally, consider supporting organizations that serve military families, like National Military Family Association.

Susan Torres Wine Guide Traveling Vineyard
Wine Guide Susan Torres is an Army Reserve Soldier. She shared the field with her father, a Vietnam veteran, to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game on Father’s Day in 2016.

Listen with love

The greatest gift you can give a veteran is a loving heart and a listening ear. Ask the veteran in your life about his or her experiences during their time of service—maybe over a glass of wine!

Wine Guide and Navy veteran Ashleigh Campbell says inquiring about the experience is often welcomed by veterans. “I’d love for them to ask me about my time in the Navy. What did I do? Where did I serve? What was my favorite memory? Take a genuine interest in that time I dedicated to serving my country,” she says. “I’m fortunate that I don’t have PTSD or any combat related injuries, but for someone who does, having another person take interest in what they did and talk about their time serving will help them and make them feel better. I know I always feel happy when I get to talk with someone about the fun times I had in the Navy.”

Listen to the stories closely. Once you have shared those moments together, offer to write down memories for them so that their stories may be passed down to future generations.

Live a life of honor

Emerald Director Elizabeth Allen, who is a military spouse, says the best way to honor all veterans is to make good choices and do things that honor the sacrifices of our veterans. “Live a full life, be kind to other leaders, and show veterans that the sacrifices they made—whether it’s injury, time away from family, etc.— that those sacrifices meant something,” she says.

With all these ways in mind, we hope you take the time over the weekend to honor veterans near and far. And when you raise your glass, may you raise it to those who have put their lives on the line for our freedoms. Cheers to our veterans.

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