For those who haven't checked their calendars lately, tomorrow is Veteran's Day. As I live near several military installations, the day won't be just another holiday on the calendar around here.
I know families where dad serves on a submarine or a destroyer and is gone six months at a stretch. The sacrifices these families make -- the absences, living with the fear -- are hard for the rest of us to even fathom. And worse -- at my kids' schools, the flags seem to fly at half-mast about every other week, as we honor another fallen soldier from one of our bases.
What can we do to help veterans once they return? Here are some ideas:
- Patronize veteran-owned businesses. There's a directory of them here, if you don't already know of one.
- If you have employees, give them the day off. Veterans Day is often one of those holidays that gets glossed over, or that doesn't seem important enough to close up shop. It is. Give your workers a day to attend a veteran's parade or just think on what we all owe our service members.
- Offer veterans a discount. Service members deserve a break. If you give a deal to seniors, kids, or any other group, consider putting veterans on your list.
- Help a veteran start a business, or grow one. There are great organizations such as The Veterans Corporation that exist just to help vets become entrepreneurs. Many franchisors also offer special programs to assist veterans in becoming franchisees. If you know about a resource and see a vet struggling with their business, lend a hand.
- Tell a veteran you appreciate their service. Sounds corny, but they deserve our thanks, and I bet they'd love to hear it said out loud.
- Talk to your kids about the holiday. It's important that the next generation understand all that's been sacrificed for their benefit.