This week is Veterans Day, a time to honor those who have served our country in the military, as well as to thank current servicepeople for their dedication. There are many ways to observe this holiday — here are a few of my favorites.
- Make and wear a red poppy. Red poppies are worn as a symbol of Veterans Day. The origin is the poem, “In Flanders Field”, written by a World War I colonel. You can make your own with scraps of red felt or fabric.
- Volunteer your time. There are many ways to help veterans, from working at a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to helping vets with job search, household tasks, transportation and more. Milserve.org pairs up volunteers with different opportunities. There are also plenty of ways to help out current military families; check out the National Military Family Association for more information.
- Properly recycle a flag. If your American flag is showing signs of wear, it’s most respectful to retire it and replace it with a new flag. While in the past, flags were ceremonially burned when they were retired, today’s flags are made of synthetic materials rather than natural materials like the cotton or wool of old. Burning synthetic materials could release toxic fumes into the air, so it’s best to leave the disposal to a flag recycler. American Flag Recycling will accept your flags for recycling for a small fee. The organization collects the nylon material to be reused to create new flags.
- Donate your car or electronics. It might be an old jalopy to you, but it could mean a few hundred dollars’ donation to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation. The organization makes it easy to donate your car or electronics like old phones or computers.
- Send an eco-friendly care package. If you have a friend or relative in the military, they’d surely welcome a care package from home. Don’t know anyone deployed? Plenty of servicepeople get no mail, so the organization Any Soldier aims to pair up soldiers with those wanting to help them out with supplies, toiletries, food items, and other necessities. If you’re not sending to someone you know, make sure all foods are commercially made and factory sealed, and not packaged with non-food items like toiletries. Some good food ideas include nutrient bars, dried fruits and nuts, and meat jerky.