November 10, 2008
Veterans day is tomorrow and I thought that in addition to using the day off to meet a girl friend for lunch and take advantage of some department store sales, I would take a moment to remember those who have served and are still serving our country. If you are looking for a way to honor or remember a veteran, here are five of my favorites.
1- call your local VA hospital and sign up to be a volunteer – this is something I had to do in college as part of a class on the legacies of the Vietnam war and at the risk of sounding dramatic; it was truly a profound experience. Since many veterans travel to go to a VA hospital often they are with out friends or family nearby. In addition to providing service to the hospital volunteers make wonderful companions and visitors to patients. You may find that sometimes the nicest thing we can do for another person is to sit listen. You can check it out here if you are interested.
2- donate to a CARE package- CARE traces its roots to the days after WWII when 22 American organizations combined forces to rush emergency rations in the form of “CARE packages” to war-torn Europe. CARE not only provides packages to soldiers but continues to be a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. You can give to CARE here, or contact your nearest American Legion post to find out where there are drop sites by you (ours is a local bank). They will happily give you a list of what soldiers are in need of (most of the list is disturbingly simple; toiletries, sunblock, paper, playing cards, etc)
3-donate to another veterans organization of your choice- as I have said before; there is no shortage of charitable organizations out there and that is certainly true of veterans organizations. I happen to have a soft spot for the Honor Flight Network, but if you do a little looking I am sure you will find one that moves you.
4- flag a veterans grave – the flagging of graves is generally done on Memorial day but many organizations use Veterans Day as an opportunity to survey graves and find out which of them need a flag holder. The flagging is often done by local boy and girl scout troops, 4H groups, and sons and daughters of military members throughout the country to ensure veterans are honored for their service.
5- fork over a few dollars for a red poppy- The Poppy tradition dates back to September 1920, when the American Legion officially adopted the poppy as its symbol of remembrance. Poppy making provides work for many disabled and hospitalized veterans throughout the country and the funds raised are used to assist veterans and their families in times of need. If you would like to learn more about the American Legion, you can do it here