November is designated the “Month of Gratitude” by IWCO Direct’s Engagement Committee. The occasion that comes to mind when we speak of gratitude is Thanksgiving. However, I’d ask people not to forget the men and women who served our country throughout our history and continue to serve today. Veterans Day reminds us to be thankful for our Veterans.
Why November 11?
Veterans Day falls on November 11 every year. This is in honor of the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I, which was originally known as Armistice Day. The first celebration using the term “Veterans Day” occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1947. World War II Veteran Raymond Weeks organized “National Veterans Day,” which included a parade and other festivities, to honor all Veterans. That event was held on November 11. In 1954 in response to the urging of many Veterans groups, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day to honor all living Veterans who served or are currently serving in any branch of the military.
Continuing the tradition begun by Raymond Weeks, many states hold parades and other celebrations on this day. There is also an official wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Although not all businesses are closed, most banks and government agencies like the USPS are closed (so no mail on Friday).
An Occasion We Should Honor All Year
As my colleague, John Murray, stated in a recent blog, there are some occasions we should keep in our hearts and minds all year. This sentiment really resonates with me. Honoring and recognizing our Veterans for the sacrifices made to protect us and preserve our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is something all Americans should practice every day.
How to Say Thank You on Veterans Day, Or Any Day
I know it is not always easy to thank a Veteran, as some may feel embarrassed by strangers walking up to them and thanking them for their service. Many feel they were just doing their civic duty or doing what they felt needed to be done by serving. As a Veteran myself, I can relate to this. The article, How to Thank a Veteran 101, shares why it can be a complicated matter sometimes. Here are a few ideas to sincerely show our gratitude:
- Donate to an organization that supports Veterans in need.
- Volunteer with an organization that assists Veterans.
- Offer your expertise. Share your professional skills with Veterans to help them transition to civilian careers.
- Offer Veterans’ discounts if you own a retail business.
- Hire Veterans!
- Offer to help a family with a deployed service member – shovel the driveway, help with carpool, walk the dog, or pick up some groceries. Family support is super important!
IWCO Direct Salutes Veterans
As part of our commitment to service members, the Charitable Giving team made a donation in September to USA Cares’ MN Chapter, an organization that supports Post-9/11 military Veterans, service members, and their families by providing emergency financial assistance and post-service skills training to build a foundation for long-term stability to help reduce the factors that can lead to suicide. While making this donation, our thoughts turned to our colleagues that serve(d) in the military. We currently have more than 30 self-identified Veterans working for our company. We know there are more and have been encouraging them to let us know via our Employee Self Service (ESS) system, so we can express our gratitude not only on Veterans Day or during the Month of Gratitude, but all year long.
Freedom is never free. On behalf of IWCO, a very sincere thank you to our Veterans and their families for their sacrifices.