If you're looking for an appropriate way to honor a veteran in your life, or would like to contribute in a way that's meaningful for veterans everywhere, here's a list of suggestions to start you off.
1. Show Up
Attend a Veterans Day event in your area -- not just a picnic with friends but an honest-to-goodness parade or service for veterans. Roy Rogers said, "We can't all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." Veterans Day is a great opportunity to do just that.
There are a plethora of wonderful organizations who offer all manner of support, services and appreciation for our service members. To get a few ideas for donations, you can check out this page.
3. Fly a flag - correctly
Veterans Day is a great opportunity to fly the flag! Just make sure you're observing the proper rules for display. Not sure exactly what those are? Check out the American Flag flying guide from Military.com
4. Ask someone about their service
You certainly can thank that person for their service, but if there’s an opportunity to take the conversation further, some questions can be thrown in to let that person know of your interest in their situation: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service? Did anyone else in your family serve? Why did you choose to go into the service branch you did?
Do not ask if they've killed anyone and should your veteran be a combat vet who is either unwilling to share or plainly states what they went through, be supportive without being intrusive. Sometimes you don't have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.
If you know a veteran, write a simple postcard or e-card that recognizes them on Veterans Day. If you don't know a veteran, look up the closest military installation and send one there. Small acts of recognizing someone's service, even anonymously, are appreciated.
6. Don't Confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day
Veterans Day is a time to thank those who are serving or have served and are still with us. Memorial Day is to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. Confusing the two or combining the two diminishes the importance of both.
7. Visit a VA Hospital or Clinic.
Find out what the policies are at your nearest VA facility for interacting with patients. The Baton Rouge Clinic is located at 7968 Essen Park Ave. Call first before you go (225) 761-3400. The clinic will be closed for Veteran's Day on Saturday.
8. Get Outdoors with a Veteran
Invite a veteran or a military family to explore a nearby national park-- admission is free for all visitors on Veterans Day. Being outside helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional well-being, and is a great way to celebrate the day with a veteran. Here is the full list of National Parks in Louisiana.
Here are the ones close to BR:
Atchafalaya- It is filled with twisting bayous, rivers and America’s largest river swamp; along with fields of sugar cane and cotton, ancient live oaks and towering cypress. And don’t forget the wildlife.
Jean Lafitte-New Orleans- Learn Cajun traditions from people who live them. Watch an alligator bask on a bayou’s bank. Walk in the footsteps of the men who fought at 1815’s Battle of New Orleans.Image of swamp, bayou, and marsh.
New Orleans Jazz-New Orleans-Only in New Orleans could there be a National Park for jazz! Drop by our visitor center at the Old U.S. Mint to inquire about musical events around town.