Veterans Day 2022 is almost here and you may be wondering how you can appropriately honor those who served on this special occasion. We share five ways you can celebrate this Veterans Day.
The history of Veterans Day
Veterans Day is a day to honor and thank those who served our country. The holiday always falls on Nov. 11, meaning this year Veterans Day falls on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is specifically meant to honor and mourn those who lost their lives while fighting in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Veterans Day as we know it stems from Armistice Day, which was first celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919. This specific date was chosen because at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, fighting in World War I ceased in an agreement to end hostilities, called an armistice, which was considered by many to be the “end” of World War I. (The war did not officially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919.). Armistice Day was continuously celebrated over the following decades, and became a federal holiday in 1938.
While there were some “Veterans Day” celebrations on Nov. 11 through the 1940s and 50s, it was not until 1954 that President Eisenhower legally changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day, “a day to honor American veterans of all wars.” The holiday provides a chance to give thanks to all veterans who honorably served our country.
How can I honor all those who served this Veterans Day?
- Attend an event. Military.com has an extensive list of parades, ceremonies, and other celebrations happening across the country for Veterans Day in 2022. They are listed in alphabetical order by state. Many of these events allow attendees to thank and honor veterans in or near their community. Others offer opportunities for education, reflection, and remembrance. These events create a space for vets to receive the recognition they deserve for their service to our country.
- Give to a worthy cause that helps veterans. There are a wide range of nonprofits and other organizations dedicated to helping and honoring veterans. Some of these organizations may work with specific types of vets like those wounded or disabled during service. Others are working to eliminate food and housing insecurity among veterans.
Perhaps you have a certain cause that is close to your heart or a veteran you would like to make a gift in honor of. It’s important to remember a gift can be of your time or money, whatever works best for you. Your gift can impact veterans long after Veterans Day ends.
We recommend doing your research when choosing a cause to donate to or volunteer for. The AARP offers advice on recognizing veteran charity scams. You can also use websites like Charity Navigator or Better Business Bureau’s Give.org to find more information about a nonprofit. Military.com offers this list of veteran organizations to begin with.
- Thank a veteran, and mean it. If you have friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers who have served, you can take a moment to show your appreciation. It can be hard to know what to say. Speak sincerely from the heart or offer up some other gesture that will brighten their day, like taking them to lunch.
While this is something we may think of more on Veterans Day, a simple but heart-felt “thank you” is something we can offer any day of the year.
- Support a veteran-owned business. Your community likely has one or more shops, restaurants, or other businesses owned and operated by veterans. If you do not already know of such a place in your town, ask around or do some research online to find veteran owned businesses in your area.
This is another great option to consider starting this Veterans Day that you can continue all year round. You can also always continue to show support by leaving a positive review of their operation and spreading the word about their good work to others. Your support helps ensure veteran-owned businesses can continue to thrive.
- Listen to a veteran’s story. While some veterans prefer their privacy and may not wish to discuss their service with you, others are eager to share their stories. Listening to veterans’ stories helps us understand the reasons we honor and thank them on Veterans Day. They give us insight into the challenges they faced, sacrifices they made, and comforts they gave up to keep our country safe and protect our freedoms.
Veterans who want to share their experiences deserve to be heard. You may have someone in your life who you think would like to tell you about their service this Veterans Day. If not, there are a variety of places where veterans’ stories can be found online including the YouTube channels Memoirs of WWII, American Veterans Center, and Urban Valor.
While the parades and ceremonies may come to an end, there are many things we can do each day to continue honoring and thanking veterans for their service to our country and its people. From all of us at Woods and Woods, happy Veterans Day!