The chances are good that most know someone who has served in the military. Some are spouses, family members, close friends and neighbors. Each of these people selflessly served their country, helping protect our freedoms. Finding a way to show appreciation to a veteran should be a priority for all of us who know one.

Thankfully, there are many ways to do this. While Veteran’s Day offers the perfect time to say “thank you” to a veteran, it’s something people can and should do all year-round. The following ideas can help you find ways to say “thank you.”

How Did Veterans Day Start?

Ways to Show Appreciation to a Veteran

Each individual has unique preferences, especially the veterans we cherish. While you understand what would resonate most with the veteran in your life, finding the right gesture can be challenging. To assist you in this endeavor, we’ve compiled a list of thoughtful ideas that can serve as an excellent starting point for showing your appreciation.

Visit a Memorial

Numerous veterans often desire to visit memorials but might feel reluctant to go alone. The presence of friends and family can provide crucial support, offering both companionship and emotional backing during what can often be a profoundly moving experience. This shared journey can be meaningful and comforting for veterans, creating an environment of understanding and connection.

Donate Money to a Good Cause

Over the years, you will learn the causes supported by the veteran in your family or among your friends. One way to show gratitude for them, and respect for their opinion, is to offer a donation to that cause. They can range from those that focus on veterans, such as The Bob Woodruff Foundation, to those unrelated to military service. The important part is offering your donation to a cause the veteran supports.

Fly Your Flag Properly

While it may seem like a minor detail to some, properly displaying and caring for the American flag holds profound significance for veterans. Representing every branch of the military and various periods of service, veterans have made immense personal sacrifices for the flag and what it symbolizes. The United States government outlines specific guidelines for flag display throughout the year and the correct methods for its maintenance. Adhering to these rules is a meaningful way to honor their service and the values they protected, acknowledging the flag’s deep symbolism and the sacrifices made by those who served under it.

Buy a Unique Gift

A personalized gift is a good way to show appreciation for a veteran, especially a spouse, family member or close friend. The veteran’s interest will dictate the gift. However, one unique idea for those who enjoy knives is to gift a knife with a personalized laser marking (something offered by KRUDO Knives). You may also want to include a coin with your gift knife.

Why Include a Coin When Gifting a Knife

Ask Them About Their Service

While some veterans may prefer not to discuss their service, it’s important they feel they have the choice to share their experiences, particularly with close family and friends. Gentle inquiries about the duration of their service, their role, the reasons behind choosing their specific branch, and any family military history can be appropriate. The crucial aspect is to approach these conversations with a supportive and non-intrusive attitude, respecting their comfort levels and privacy, and allowing them to lead the dialogue about their experiences.

Become a Volunteer

If a friend or family member often utilizes VA services or a VA hospital, consider volunteering there. This gesture goes beyond showing appreciation for your personal connection with a veteran; it extends your support and gratitude to the broader veteran community. By dedicating your time and efforts, you’re not just honoring an individual veteran in your life but also contributing positively to the lives of many others who have served, reinforcing a community of care and respect for those who have given so much.

Support Veteran-Owned Businesses

Transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce can prove tough for some veterans. While they all deserve your support, this is especially true if they have taken the risk of becoming an entrepreneur and running a business. Making a point of buying from their business is a great way of showing appreciation.

These are some of the ways to show appreciation to a veteran. The important thing is to make the effort. The veteran in your life will recognize what you have done and appreciate that you care.

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