11 Ways To Thank A Veteran On Memorial Day

This May 30 commemorates our fallen soldiers and Veterans in a meaningful way! Memorial Day is not a “day off, but a day on” that gives you the opportunity to show your sincere appreciation to those who lost their lives in order to protect our United States of America. This celebration also gives you the opportunity to say thank you to those retired and current service members! Even though this is not Veterans Day, it is still a time to show your overall gratitude for all service members. So instead of sitting at home and watching celebrations and memorials on television, be active in giving your respects and appreciation for our fallen, retired and current troops. Here are 11 tips to help you prepare for Memorial Day Weekend:

11. Decorations!

This holiday start by writing down your appreciation for our comrades- in- arms by writing letters. Don't just write one, write many! Letter writing helps our members feel remembered, appreciated and loved. Send your letters to current service members or even write a letter to a fallen family member. Writing a letter to a deceased family Veteran can aid with emotional peace or writing a letter to a family member who serves allows them to know how much you care about them. If you don't like writing letters create pro- Veteran sign or an "I support our troops" sign and decorate your own flag to hang in your yard. To go a step further create your own red white and blue bouquet to put on a Veteran family members grave stone.

10. Observe the Flag-In

After you make your own bouquets, letters, and signs go to the Arlington National Cemetery and observe service men and women respectfully place American flags on thousands of graves! If you are not a DC local research if your local cemetery is doing this same this May 30th.

9. Buy a Poppy

Memorial Day in 1922 the Veterans of Foreign Wars began the Poppy Buddy tradition and became the first veterans' organization to organize a nationwide distribution of poppys. Since the poppy has been adopted as the official memorial flower of VFW and gives the opportunity for disabled and needy Veterans to assemble poppys in exchange compensation which provides them with financial assistance along with "maintains

state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs". So buy a poppy today in support!

8. Greet Veterans and Fallen Soldiers' Families

On Memorial Day weekend many Veterans show their respects for their fallen comrades. So as they march don't be afraid to greet them and say thank you for their service as well. In support of Veterans you can donate time, money, and supplies to local Veterans Day drives. You can also volunteer to help a Veteran’s Service Organizations. If you have a personal relationship with families who have lost someone in the line of service, visit them as well and be with them as they memorialize their deceased family member as this weekend can be a sensitive time.

7. Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally

If you are in the DC Metropolitan Area over 900,000 motorcyclists from all over the United States every year come together to honor Prisoners of War and MIA’s who served this country during the Vietnam War. Stand aside and respectfully observe as these riders with flags and paraphernalia commemorate their fallen comrades.

6. Visit the USSAH National Cemetery

During this weekend visit the USSAH National Cemetery which is the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home Cemetery. This is also one of the "country’s oldest national cemeteries pre-dating Arlington National Cemetery. The Armed Forces Retirement Home and President Lincoln’s Cottage are proud to partner on Memorial Day for a wreath-laying ceremony and guided tours of the


National Cemetery. Cemetery tours and wreath-laying ceremony are free and open to the public".

5. Take flowers to a Veterans memorial.

Take the time to visit a fallen heroes cemetery or gravestone and place flags or flowers on the graves. Bring your hand made gifts and bouquets as well! As you leave your home further pay your respects by flying your U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.

4. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance

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Take part in the National Moment of Remembrance to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day Weekend. The moment of silence begins at 3:00 p.m. and following take part in the Taps

tradition which is the official bugle call which also occurs at military funerals.

3. Attend the Largest Memorial Day Parade and The National Memorial Day Concert

This televised parade features ushers, marching bands, youth groups, floats, performers and veterans, down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. This one of the largest parades of the year in the U.S and "honors those who have served in the U.S Military past and present. This National Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for Monday, May 30 at 2 p.m." After attend the free National Memorial Day Concert hosted by PBS. This event honors service men and women and their families and will be held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, on Sunday, May 29th, at 8-9:30 p.m. This year Celebrity participants include actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, Chef Robert Irvine, Smashing Pumpkins, Miss America and American Idol’s Caleb Johnson as cited on the Washington, D.C. official cite.

2. Visit the National Mall

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If you go by the National Mall that has a beautiful dedications to service men and women you will see hundreds of service men and women and Veterans giving their respects. The National Mall hosts the National World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Women's Memorial. If you would like to participate feel free to write a name of a fallen soldier that you know or write down a name on the memorial wall.

1. Simply Say Thank You!

A simple thank you spoken out loud to those Veterans lives who have been lost or a thank you given to a current service member or Veteran can be truly impactful. If you do encounter a Veteran or active member ask a Veteran about their time in the military. On your way back home take the time out to speak with or spend time with a homeless Veteran or homebound Veteran.

To find more ideas of ways to show your respect this Memorial Day Weekend, visit serve.gov and type in the word “veterans” for more opportunities to help serve our nation's veterans.

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