As Americans, we live in abundant freedom, peace, and prosperity. Few people in all the history of the world have enjoyed the blessings we often take for granted.
But there is a price attached to freedom. Our men and women in the military sacrifice every day. Many live in hell, some fight and are wounded, others pay the ultimate price. Each one sacrifices much they hold dear to keep us free.
Here are some great ways to honor our veterans as we celebrate Veterans Day.
- Attend your local Veterans Day Parade. Wear red, white, and blue. Take pictures. Express appreciation to any veterans you may see. Invite your kids to look for opportunities to say thank-you too. Usually, even teens come home happy they went.
- Take a veteran out to eat. Many restaurants and eating places offer discounts or free food on Veterans Day. Take a favorite veteran or two out for a treat. They will remember your kindness for a very long time.
- Visit with a veteran. Whether you call, visit them, or invite a vet into your home, this can become a favorite family tradition. My dad and father-in-law both served in World War II. We have called them for Veterans Day and Memorial Day and invited them to tell us about their experiences. Of course, we've heard the same stories before, but we never get tired of them. We hope our kids tell them to our grandkids so our family legacy is passed from one generation to the next.
- Thank a military family. You could make them a card or a poster and take them a treat. Tell them how grateful you are for the sacrifices they are making (or have made) for our country. Be sure to make plenty of treats so your family can have some when you return home.
- Pray for those who are serving and their families. Talk about some of the sacrifices military families make, and ask God to bless them.
- Watch "The Price of Freedom." It's an amazing tribute, a powerful history lesson, and a touching musical you will always remember.
- Serve. Not everyone serves in the military, but we can all do something to lighten the burdens of those who do and their families. Talk with your family about the best way you can help. The happy glow that comes from serving others may be your favorite part of the holiday.
- Keep a family history book. Include in it stories of grandpas, uncles, and other family members who have served in the military. Share inspirational experiences and include plenty of pictures. A family history book can become a favorite source for bedtime stories!
- Set up a tent. Talk about what the life of a soldier is like. If it's too cold outside, you could set up a tent in the house, complete with sleeping bags, snacks, and great stories.
- Read or tell a patriotic story. Share your feelings about the blessings we enjoy in America. If you don't have any stories handy, you could read "A Story from One of My Favorite Veterans" or "7 Heartwarming Veterans Stories" or "I Knew You Would Come." Or you could watch some of the videos at PatrioticMoms.com, like the video of soldiers being reunited with their families.
- Learn about PTSD and be sensitive to what soldiers around you might be facing.