Veterans Day is an official United States holiday celebrating the service of all U.S. military veterans. November 11th of each year is the day that we show veterans just how much we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made to keep our country free. However, we can and should honor our veterans 365 days of the year. There are many different ways that one can thank a veteran and a number of organizations have been established to make it easier to do so. Here are just a few:
1. The Coming Home Project
The Coming Home Project is a non-profit organization devoted to providing expert, compassionate care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their care providers.
2. Disabled American Veterans
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) offers a variety of services to disabled veterans and their families including assistance with disability assistance, VA pensions, job programs and more.
3. Don't Forget About a Soldier's Best Friend
From military working dogs on the front lines to guide dogs providing safety and companionship for wounded veterans, dogs are a big part of the lives of our soldiers and veterans.
4. Give An Hour
Give An Hour is an organization that allows mental health professionals to donate an hour of their time to troops and their families.
5. Hero Miles Program
Fisher House operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flier miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members. The Fisher House Foundation also has a network of homes on the grounds of military and VA hospitals around the country. These homes help family members be close during the hospitalization of a loved one for a combat injury, illness or disease.
6. Hire Heroes USA
Hire Heroes USA is dedicated to creating job opportunities for US military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training.
7. Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops uses volunteers to build homes or adapt existing homes to meet the needs of injured veterans and enable them to live independently. These homes are provided by Homes for Our Troops at no cost to veterans.
8. The Honor Flight Network
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 World War II veterans die every day. The Honor Flight Network helps veterans of the "greatest generation" make a free pilgrimage to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington.
9. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is a nonprofit network of local, state and federal agencies that provides emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid and case management support for hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans each year.
10. Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.
11. Operation Write Home
Operation Write Home offers active duty soldiers the opportunity to write home to their loved ones by sending blank, handmade greeting cards that service members can send back home, along with 20-30 letters of encouragement from citizens.
12. The USO Operation Phone Home
The holidays are a particularly tough time for many troops and their families. The USO offers USO Operation Phone Home, which delivers a $50 prepaid international calling card to troops, allowing them to make up to 140 calls home.
13. The Veterans History Project
So many veterans' stories have been left untold, but the Library of Congress is collecting the tales of veterans of every war with the Veterans History Project. If you are related to a veteran or know one who has a story to tell, the Library of Congress wants to hear it. Help veterans share their stories before it's too late.
14. Wall Street Warfighters Foundation
The Wall Street Warfighters Foundation, based in Philadelphia, is a six month in-residence course designed to expose veterans to the broader aspects of the financial services industry, and to help them gain access to rewarding careers.
15. Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides rehabilitation, activities and career counseling for our nation's wounded warriors and their families. You can support the Wounded Warrior Project in a number of ways: by hosting a Supporter Event, sending letters to an injured service member, giving a monthly gift, or making a donation in honor of a loved one.
“On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.” —Dan Lipinski
I offer a heartfelt “thank you” to our Veterans, today and every day. And that handsome chap third from the left in the photo above? That's my favorite veteran, my father, who fought in the Korean war.