Don’t Just Thank Vets, Be An Outlier on Veterans Day 2015

DogTags(2)With any holiday that marks the celebration of a special day, Veterans’ Day is designed as a one-day event. Here’s why it is in danger of becoming one and why it shouldn’t.

As America has done with most of its other holidays, Veterans’ Day receives a lot of attention. But, I would suggest that much of the attention comes in the form of sales, discounts and lip service.

We all know holidays such as July 4th and Memorial Day are about sales as much as they are about the celebration. Just as with these holidays, Veterans Day sales now start well before and end well after the actual holiday.

Similar to other holidays such as Christmas, Veterans Day has become over-commercialized and risks losing its true meaning. Yet, unlike Xmas, Veterans Day is not a religious holiday.

Don’t get me wrong everyone in America has only the best intentions for our veterans. Yet, when you search “veterans day 2015”, the results come out different then we intend.

Here’s a sampling of the top results I found when searching for “veterans day 2015”:
Fox News – Restaurants, businesses offer freebies for veterans and military personnel
Time.com – Places Veterans Can Eat & Drink Free
Military.com – Veterans Day Military Discounts: Restaurants
US News – The Best Deals of Veterans Day 2015
MarketWatch – Which markets are closed on Veterans Day?
The American Legion – Veterans Day discounts
Huffington Post – Are Banks Open on Veterans Day 2015?

All told, I only identified 3 out of 32 results (9.4%) on the first three pages returned that sort of captured the essence of the day, which Wikipedia describes as, “…a holiday observed annually on November 11, honoring people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans.”

These outliers include:
NBC News – Businesses Serve Up Veterans Day ‘Thank Yous’ to Those Who Served
Whitehouse.gov – Presidential Proclamation on Veterans Day 2015

I don’t want to dampen the spirit of the day, but when it comes to taking care of our veterans there is a lot of lip service (and volumes of discounts) going on. We can do better.

For example:

  • Why doesn’t the Department of Veterans Affairs bring everyone at their agency into work and offer veterans and their families 24 hours of uninterrupted service for the benefits they have earned?
  • Why don’t politicians hold special legislative sessions and political candidates organize town hall meetings with veterans as they do for the public, many of their constituents and special interest groups?
  • Why don’t U.S. citizens go to homeless shelters or contact the local chapter of their veterans association and volunteer to help a veteran in need?

In short, why don’t we really find meaningful ways honor our military veterans?

On Veterans Day 2015, let’s begin a movement to do just that. I’ll get things started by listing a couple of ways you can make a difference below. Under the heading to this article with #HowToHonorVets2015 in your response, please share what you did on Veterans Day or at any other special times in your life to make a difference and truly honor our U.S. veterans. We’ll organize and try to publish, share and use most of the results for future reference.

Here are a couple of easy ways to make a difference now and in the future:

1-Don’t just patronize a veteran by thanking them for their service, ask them questions and listen to their stories.

2-Whenever you can give up your 1st class airline seat, season ticket to a sporting event or front row concert seat to a veteran.

3-Hire, or recommend hiring, a veteran.

4-Ask your company to name Veterans Day an official holiday. As recent as 5 years ago, only 21% of companies planned to observe the holiday. When you get the day off, spend part of that day honoring a veteran.

5-Volunteer to help at a VA Hospital near you.

Here’s to honoring the veterans of our United States through our time, talents and many expressions of support!

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