This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Veterans Day. For 100 years as a nation we’ve been saying “Thank you for your service.” But, if you ask my Veteran, he doesn’t need a thank you. It may be nice to hear, but he along with thousands of other Veterans need action, not words.
So, on this Veterans Day, let’s do better. Here are eight actions you can take to honor a Veteran:
- If you are in a position to do so, for God’s sake give a Veteran a job, and I don’t mean delivering pizza. Keep in mind that if a Vet was smart enough and badass enough to topple a small country, they’re probably the kind of person you want running logistics for your business. Vets are problem solvers. That’s what they do.
- In that same vein, offer a Veteran/military spouse a remote job, something he or she can move with from duty station to duty station. The action of providing financial and career stability for the spouse will help that military family more than I can explain in a 500-word blog post. Keep in mind an old adage of military spouses:We all have either several degrees or several children. Some have both. So, read that resume when it hits your desk. She’s going to surprise the hell out of you.
- So, if you’re fresh out of jobs, bring your Veteran neighbor dinner. I know, I know, restaurants aplenty offer discounts to Vets on Veterans Day, but that requires us to leave the comfort of our homes. Dealing with the public is not something my Veteran enjoys. Being in public on Veterans Day subjects him to having to smile and shrug off the grateful population too much. He’ll never grin and say, “Yes, I am awesome. You’re welcome.” No matter how much I want to see that!
- Perform an act of kindness for a Veteran. Mow their grass, rake leaves, take their kid for a playdate with your kid WITHOUT THE VET HAVING TO BE PRESENT, pick up litter on their street, anything you can think of to remind that Veteran that their time spent in service was for a pretty awesome bunch of people.
- Let your Veteran do exactly what he or she wants to do that day. Unless your Veteran truly enjoys the spotlight, do not force them to march in a parade, sit on a stage, or stand up in a crowded restaurant to be recognized. Yes, he has been forced to do all these. No, my Veteran does no not enjoy the spotlight.
- Best choice if you want to honor my Veteran: Drop a case of beer on the porch with or without a note.
- If you want to honor my Vet by honoring my service to him as chief mover and life organizer, drop off a bottle of red. I prefer cabernet sauvignon.
- If all else fails, offer a hug with your thank you. Everybody could use a hug. Even my ornery Veteran. But, ask first. Tackling anyone without asking may have seriously bad consequences.
What will you do to honor the Veterans in your life? I’m going to let mine do whatever the heck he wants to do after attending our son’s school Veterans Day program. I know, I know. There’s that spotlight again. But, when the four-year-old with the big blue eyes and sweetest soul ever asks, “Daddy, you’re a bet-a-ran? Will you come to my school?” he can’t refuse. I double dog dare you to try.
Clear22 is a newly founded organization that provides opportunity, support, and exposure to Veteran artists along with their spouses and children.