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The Best Way to Honor Our Veterans

On November 11th, we honor all the courageous men and women in our armed forces who have served in both peacetime and during wars – present or past, living or dead – for their service.

Every military veteran, regardless of branch of service or rank, has lived a story that should never be forgotten. These courageous men and women who put their lives on the line to secure and defend our freedoms deserve our deepest gratitude. 

As a bit of trivia, did you know there is a significance to the date 11/11 –  the actual date we celebrate Veterans Day? That is the date an official cease fire was declared during WWI – on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month back in 1918.

It ended a conflict so horrendous that it was called “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, history shows that would not be the case. It would become an official U.S. holiday 20 years later, and in 1954 it was changed from “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day.

If you, yourself, are a veteran, please know how appreciated you really are: America would not be what it is without your service.

Chances are that you know somebody who has served in the military. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a neighbor, make sure you take a moment today to thank him or her for their service. 

But we can do much more than just say “thanks.” In the words of John F. Kennedy:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

We can turn our words into action by doing our part to make a meaningful difference in this world every day in small and simple ways.

We never know the kind of day someone is having, the loss they’re struggling with or the health crisis they might be undergoing. We can put down our smartphones and look people in the eyes as we say “good morning” and “thank you.”

We can hold the door for strangers. We can be generous with compliments and words of appreciation. We can buy coffee for a friend or volunteer at a soup kitchen.

We can ask someone how their day is going, and genuinely, with interest and curiosity, listen to their response.

Start with any of the above ideas. Or come up with your own ways to be a beneficial presence.

Let’s allow Veterans Day be a reminder to us of how important service to others is, of how selfless our veterans are, and of just how blessed we are by their courageous service.

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