by Tallie Gray
Director of Library Resources
November 11th is Veterans Day, a day to honor United States military veterans. This annual federal holiday highlights the heroism of those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.
One year after World War I ended with the signing of an armistice in 1918, Woodrow Wilson chose the date of the agreement between the warring countries, November 11, to be Armistice Day. It took almost two decades before this became a federal legal holiday in 1938, and the name was changed to “Veterans Day” in 1954.
Veterans Day is a humbling holiday for those of us who have not served in the armed forces. How can civilians begin to show gratitude to these brave men and women? Parades, moments of silence, speeches, clapping, and floral tributes may seem trivial in comparison to what these people have given, but all are heartfelt gestures of respect.
Here are some other ways to show appreciation:
- Correctly fly the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on days when the there is no inclement weather, unless you have an all-weather flag. (For more information on how to properly fly the U. S. flag, visit www.military.com)
- Show up to events where you can elbow bump a veteran, ask about their military experience, and, if they are willing to share, listen, and say, “Thank you for your service.”
- Make and display signs.
- Make and serve meals.
- Write a postcard, letter, or e- card expressing your appreciation.
- Call or write a VA hospital to see what is needed, wanted, or how you can help support the veterans there. (For a list of VA hospitals, visit www.va.gov/directory/guide/allstate.asp)
- Check out library materials to share with a veteran—books, DVDs, magazines, instruments, audio CDs, and reminiscent kits.
- Help veterans sign up for a GCLD library card, giving them access to all of GCLD’s online resources, from eBooks and audiobooks to news, genealogy, crafts, classes, and databases. (Visit gcld.org for more information.)
- Donate to a non-profit that supports veterans.
If you want inspiration to go to the next level of sharing your gratitude for our military veterans, think of police officer David V. Roth, who chose Helping Hands for Freedom as a way to donate time, money, and dedication. In 2016, Mr. Roth walked 3,100 miles across the United States, including Highway 40 through Grand County, to raise money to support veterans and their families suffering from PTSD, death, deployment, and loss.
Mr. Roth shared, “There is no Veterans Day for me anymore. It’s every day. It’s the veteran I sat across from at lunch. It’s the hundreds and thousands of people I met along the way who don’t know that each other exist, who all have a shared sacrifice. I’ll be honest. I try to avoid the emotion at times. But it’s changed the world that I live in—understanding that full sacrifice.” (Source: The Criterion Online Edition, November 4, 2016, by John Shaughnessy)
It’s worth repeating, Veterans Day is a humbling holiday for many. Let’s all find ways to show our appreciation.