Saturday, November, 11, 2017 is Veterans Day. On this day, all Americans should make time to honor the military service members who died serving this nation. It is also a time to thank the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who proudly wear the uniform today.

Myra came from a civilian family; I was a military dependent — the son of a Chief Master Sergeant. I followed my father’s footsteps and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. During our 27-year military career we raised three girls, and enjoyed seven military moves. The experience of our immediate family follows a long tradition began by extended family members who proudly served in every branch of the service, they fought, and some died in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. We know firsthand, that nothing makes a veteran prouder than to hear a person say, “Thank you for your service.” In addition, be sure to thank the families of military service members — they served and sacrificed too.

The following list provides our 10 suggestions for how you can honor the veterans in your family, on your job, in your neighborhood, at your place of worship.

  1. Display an American Flag in your yard
  2. Buy a flag and present it to a veteran and their family as a gift
  3. Have your children write a note or draw a picture thanking a veteran for their service
  4. Invite the family of a deployed veteran to lunch, dinner, or desert. Get to know them better and acknowledge your appreciation for what they do
  5. If the veteran is deployed overseas, show your gratefulness to their family by cutting their grass and/or raking their leaves
  6. Anonymously pay for a veteran’s meal at a restaurant
  7. Approach a military member in uniform, show your interest in what they do by asking them what they like most about serving in the military, shake their hand, and give them a hug
  8. Make a large sign saying, “Veterans Thank You for Your Service and Sacrifice,” and place it in a widow that can be seen from the street
  9. Call your church place of worship and request they acknowledge those who served in the in any branch of the military by having them to stand and be recognized for their honorable contributions to preserve our freedoms during the worship gathering closest to Veteran’s Day
  10. Visit a VA Hospital, a retirement home, or a long-term care facility and ask the staff to help you locate veteran residents for you to thank. Women also served, so be sure to include them. A short visit and brief conversation to convey your appreciation is all that’s required to make their day…and they especially love visits from the kids
  11. BONUS: Buy $10 or $20 worth of small American Flags and take your family to a cemetery to plant the flags on the graves of deceased veterans.

Our military serves 365 days a year. They serve on weekends and holidays. They miss family birthdays, recitals, sports games, anniversaries, and other holidays and celebrations due to deployment.

In the days leading up to Veteran’s Day, make a commitment to thank these citizen-warrior heroes for all they’ve done and continue to do to keep us free, and keep us safe.