Things About Doing Veteran's Day

I was supposed to substitute teach today, but the teacher I was subbing for actually didn't have the training he thought he did, so when I showed up, you can imagine the awkward conversation that ensued about how much he didn't need me to be him.

So I came home feeling a bit lost and also a bit disappointed that I no longer had a good excuse for avoiding the Eternal Plague of Unattended Things here at my house. After a few minutes of staring at Facebook, wherein are found all of the answers to life problems, I dug into the pile of severely neglected stuff and tackled it, all the while thinking there must be a better way to occupy my mind than long wait times on the phone for insurance issues, googling green chile mac n' cheese recipes and pretending to balance my checkbook. (Is that even a thing anymore?)

Wednesday is Veteran's Day. Originally, the holiday began as Armistice Day at the end of World War I, but evolved over time into a day set aside to honor all United States soldiers, men and women who have served, at home and abroad, throughout history. Commonly confused with Memorial Day, the distinction lies in the recognition of every service member on Veteran's Day, vs. the fallen heroes we honor on Memorial Day. It made me start to wonder if there was a more tangible way to do this than posting a flag-themed meme on FB and saying something nice and poetic.

But there is a more tangible way. Several, in fact, beginning with the simple act of a personal thank you to the veterans that you meet all day long. There are 23.2 million veterans living in the United States today. That is SO many. That means you can't get far without tripping over one of them. Tell them you see them, and tell them thank you. I personally have many friends on social media who have served. A private message to them holds a little more weight than a meme.

My friend Justin Peterson has headed up a program since he was 9 years old, raising money to sponsor military veterans for honor flights to Washington DC every year. Since 2009, Justin has helped to send over 1100 vets to DC. You can help out through his website or directly at the Inland Northwest Honor Flight  site as well. (Justin takes no overhead/operating costs from his donations, FYI). What better way to recognized their service and sacrifice than by sponsoring an expenses paid trip to the war memorials in the Nation's Capitol.

Many national and local business offer discounted or free meals and services to vets on Veteran's Day. compiled a list of some of them, which is a great resource for our service members and their families. Additionally, while they might not be making any friends in the easily-offended-christian camps with their generic holiday cups, Starbucks announced an expansion to their college tuition program for veteran employees and their families, and that's a win in my book.

So in case you were confused about what Veteran's Day was supposed to be, other than a federal holiday that is a get out of jail free card from work and school, or in case you have considered DOING something about it...

Korean War Memorial in Washington DC

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