Each year, Veterans Day presents the perfect opportunity to explore ways to thank a veteran—a fitting tribute to the courage and sacrifices of those who have served our nation. This day is more than just a tradition; it’s a heartfelt moment to appreciate the liberties we often take for granted. A day to honor the men and women who served our country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force.
But consider this: the gratitude we hold for our veterans deserves to be a constant presence, not just a once-a-year event. Their dedication knows no bounds of time, and neither should our thanks.
This blog post will show you how to thank a veteran in seven sincere ways.
I hope you will use these ideas as a starting point. Then, use them as inspiration to get creative with all the meaningful ways you can thank veterans. By taking the time to show our veterans how much they are valued, we send a clear message of unwavering respect and deep appreciation for their service every day.
Ways to Thank a Veteran
There are countless ways to say thank you to those who have served our country. We hope you will use the seven suggestions in this post as a starting point. Let them serve as inspiration to come up with “thank yous” of your own for the special veterans in your life.
Send a Personal Thank You Note
There’s something really special about receiving a personal thank-you note. It’s a tangible piece of appreciation that you can hold onto, literally and figuratively. When looking for ways to thank a veteran, why not put pen to paper? Write a note and let a veteran know just how much their service means to you?
Imagine a veteran, opening a letter that comes straight from the heart. Your words could touch on the peace they’ve helped preserve or the personal sacrifices they’ve made that have allowed us to live our lives freely. It’s not about grandiose gestures; it’s sincerity that counts.
If you know a veteran personally, tailor your note to reflect shared memories or express gratitude for how they’ve impacted your life. To send a thank you to veterans you haven’t met, connect with a local organization that can help deliver your notes to vets. Places like nursing homes, assisted living communities, or veterans councils can help. Many veterans don’t hear the words “thank you” often enough. Your note could be a cherished reminder that their service has not gone unnoticed.
So take a moment to sit down, reflect, and write. It doesn’t have to be lengthy—a few honest lines can speak volumes. And if you’re at a loss for words, simply starting with “Thank you for your service” can open the door to deeper gratitude.
Volunteer Your Time
Time is one of our most precious commodities, and using it to thank a veteran is a profound way to show gratitude. Volunteering is not just about the work done; it’s about the solidarity and companionship it brings, the community it builds, and the message it sends.
Many veterans’ organizations and VA hospitals are in constant need of volunteers. Whether you’re assisting with everyday tasks, participating in recreational activities, or simply lending an ear, your presence can make a world of difference in a veteran’s life. It’s about more than just filling a need; it’s about fostering a connection and showing veterans that their contributions to our country continue to be recognized and valued every day.
Consider the skills and passions you have. Are you handy with tools? Offer to help with home repairs for veterans who are unable to do so themselves. Love to read or play music? Organize a reading group or a small concert at a local veteran’s center. Even professional skills like legal advice, financial planning, or medical expertise can be incredibly beneficial.
The act of volunteering is a powerful declaration of gratitude, showing veterans that we are invested in their well-being long after their service has ended. So this Veterans Day, and throughout the year, commit to giving your time—a gift that echoes the selflessness of those who’ve served.
Support a Veteran-Owned Business
When veterans return to civilian life, many channel the leadership skills and discipline they’ve gained in the military into starting a venture of their own. By supporting veteran-owned businesses, we’re not only thanking them for their service but also investing in their future.
Seek out local businesses run by veterans in your community. A simple internet search can yield a treasure trove of veteran-owned shops, restaurants, and service providers. Buying from these businesses is a direct way to thank a veteran and contribute to their livelihood and well-being.
Support doesn’t end with making purchases. Promote these businesses on social media, recommend them to friends and family, or even write positive reviews to help them grow. If you’re a business owner yourself, consider partnering with veteran-owned businesses for events or as suppliers.
Supporting veteran entrepreneurs sends a clear message: we value not only the past service of our veterans but also their future endeavors and contributions to our economy and community.
Educate and Yourself and Others
One of the most impactful ways to thank a veteran is through education—taking the time to understand the sacrifices they’ve made and the challenges they face. Knowledge breeds empathy, and empathy bridges the gap between different walks of life.
Make it a point to learn more about the military experiences of veterans and the rich history of the armed forces. Books, documentaries, and museums offer a wealth of information that can deepen your appreciation for what veterans have endured. Moreover, sharing this knowledge with others, especially the younger generation, ensures that the valor and sacrifices of our veterans are never forgotten.
Consider visiting a local school to speak about the significance of Veterans Day or inviting a veteran to come along and share their story. Host a community movie night featuring films about military history or organize a book club focused on literature by veteran authors. Encourage discussions that highlight the diversity and complexity of the veteran experience.
Education doesn’t stop with history; it also involves understanding the present-day issues that affect veterans. Stay informed about legislation and initiatives that impact veteran benefits and healthcare. Use your voice and platform to advocate for policies that support the veteran community.
By educating ourselves and advocating for our veterans, we’re not only saying ‘thank you’ but also contributing to a society that truly recognizes and honors their service every day.
Participate in Veterans Day Events
Community events on Veterans Day are powerful demonstrations of national solidarity and gratitude. From attending a parade to participating in a local ceremony, there are numerous ways to visibly show your respect and appreciation. Check your local community calendar for events such as wreath-laying ceremonies, military exhibits, or school events focused on honoring veterans. These gatherings are not just about tradition; they are about community, connection, and the shared pride in our veterans’ service.
If your community doesn’t have these types of events, why not take the lead in organizing one? Coordinate with local veterans’ groups, schools, and community leaders to plan a gathering or a moment of silence. Create an event that gives space for reflection and appreciation and encourages community members to actively participate in the commemoration.
Participation can also extend beyond physical presence. Social media campaigns, virtual runs, or online fundraisers during Veterans Day can all contribute to the cause. Use these platforms to spread awareness and encourage others to join in the day’s activities.
By coming together as a community, we send a resounding message of support and gratitude to our veterans. These events reinforce the idea that their service is not just a memory to be honored once a year, but a living part of our communal identity. A piece worthy of our collective recognition and respect.
Donate to Veteran Causes
While we can offer our thanks in many ways, sometimes the most direct path to making a real difference in veterans’ lives is through our wallets. Financial contributions to organizations that support veterans can have a huge impact, offering resources for healthcare, housing, education, and job training.
Research and select credible charities that have a track record of transparently and effectively aiding veterans. Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Wounded Warrior Project, or local non-profits that provide services to veterans in your community are excellent places to start. Your donation could help a struggling veteran find stable housing, gain access to critical medical care, or receive assistance with education and employment opportunities.
It’s not just about one-time donations, either. Consider setting up a recurring contribution to provide consistent support. You might also explore matching gift programs through your employer, which can double the impact of your donation.
If direct financial giving isn’t feasible, look into other ways to donate. Many organizations accept vehicles, clothing, household items, or even stocks and bonds. Fundraising events, like charity runs or auctions, can also raise significant funds and spread awareness about veterans’ needs.
Advocate for Veteran Support Services
Beyond individual acts of gratitude, advocating for systemic support is so important. Advocacy involves raising awareness about veterans’ issues, supporting legislation that benefits the veteran community, and holding elected officials accountable for their promises to those who served.
Stay informed about local and national policies affecting veterans, and use your voice to support positive change. This can mean writing to your local representatives and participating in town hall meetings. You can even use social media to bring attention to critical issues facing the veteran community.
Engagement can also take a more active form. Join or organize rallies for veterans’ rights, volunteer for political campaigns that prioritize veteran services, or serve on committees and boards that make decisions impacting the veteran community.
Moreover, consider the power of voting. Electing leaders who prioritize veteran affairs is a profound way to ensure continued support and resources for veterans. Encourage others in your circle to vote with veterans in mind.
Through advocacy, we can contribute to a culture that thanks and respects veterans for their service through action and policy. Veterans Day is an annual reminder of our duty. But the efforts to support veterans should be unwavering throughout the year. Make every day an opportunity to advocate for those who have dedicated their lives to our country’s service and safety.
Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is meant for general informational purposes and should not be considered professional advice. While we strive for accuracy, we recommend consulting experts for specific guidance. We are not responsiblefor any decisions made based on this information.
Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide with her husband Wes, combines personal experience and heartfelt dedication in her work. Their journey in eldercare began with a personal story—caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who lived with Alzheimer's. This chapter in their lives not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also kindled a deep-seated passion to support others facing similar challenges. Since then, Liz and Wes have navigated caregiving three more times. These experiences have added layers of depth to their insights, allowing them to offer a blend of empathetic understanding and practical advice through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide. Liz’s commitment to making eldercare more approachable and less daunting shines through in every piece of advice she offers, aiming to ease the caregiving journey for others.