Today America celebrates Veterans Day.
Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.
As a mom and daughter of military men, I am especially mindful of what this day means. Pictured above is my oldest son, Staff Sergeant Kevin Lindsey who currently serves in the Air Force with my dad, Les Pate who served from 1963-67. My dad was also the commander of the American Legion Post 14 from 1981-82.
My son, Kevin and his wife, Michelle are expecting their first child in April. Because Kevin serves this country, we are not certain where exactly Kevin will be during the first year of his newborn son’s life. This is a sacrifice he agreed to make when he joined the military.
You see, serving in the military means sacrifice.
Most who have served or are currently serving do not expect a parade. They didn’t join to be held up on a pedestal. However, they do appreciate a heartfelt thank you and our prayers. They also appreciate tangible support.
How can we truly show America’s veterans our gratitude?
Tangible Ways to Thank a Veteran
Make a commitment to pray for our military regularly. This might seem small and not “tangible,” but the Bible tells us prayer is powerful.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT
The way I remember to keep our military in prayer is with my prayer journal. Along with my daily prayers, I scheduled a specific group of people to pray for each day of the week. Every Sunday I pray for the leadership in our country. I start with our president and those in powerful positions as well as our military and their families. I also pray for leadership on a local level as well as pastors, teachers, and fathers.
Thank service members who are currently deployed.
- Help an expectant military mom. What a relief it is for a soldier to know his family is supported back home. To donate baby blankets, diapers, bottles, clothing, and other items, register at www.soldiersangels.org/operation-top-knot-team.html.
- Send an ecard – Have a friend, relative or neighbor who has served or is serving? Use the American Legion e-card to thank service members for all that they do.
- Become a Soldier’s Angel – Join Soldier’s Angels to “adopt” a service member, recommend a service member you know for adoption or participate in group activities to care for wounded, deployed or returning service members.
- Send a care package, letter or email to a service member you to know. Visit the U.S. Postal Service’s website for guidelines on sending mail to deployed service members(link is external).
Serve Veterans in your community
- There are so many ways we can show a veteran our appreciation and gratitude. We can offer to rake leaves, grocery shop, wash their car, buy or make them dinner/dessert. Get creative!
- Like all medical facilities, VA hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics need volunteers. Find out what you can do to help and make a difference. Volunteer at a VA medical center or facility
- Department of Veterans Affairs estimated the veteran suicide rate to be 22 veterans per day, based on three million medical records from 20 states. Support a non-profit organization such as the Veteran Suicide Awareness Project (VSAP) or Warriors on Track
Serve the military families (the unsung heroes)
- Participate with Operation Homefront – Operation Homefront provides services to alleviate the direct or indirect burdens of military service on an individual or family. Read the organization’s current volunteer opportunities, and check out specific family needs in local communities across the country.
Veterans Day is a great opportunity to do something meaningful for those who have served or are currently serving our country. But the truth is, they need our regular support, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.