As a young man or woman, to serve in one of our countries branches of the Armed Services is a great and wondrous selfless act. The men and women of the armed forces serve our country and allow us the FREEDOM we enjoy every day. Together, tirelessly, day after day they guard our country and it’s borders against enemies both foreign and domestic. Whether it’s the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines or National Guard, once you’ve enlisted and served, you are now a Veteran. Some serve and give up the greatest gift ever, their lives.
Many of our men and women soldiers come home after serving our country domestically and abroad and it is our duty to thank them in every way possible. Originally, we honored our Veteran’s here in America, on Armistice Day, November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1926 Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance. In 1938, November 11, Veterans Day became a national holiday, observed annually.
How Do You Thank Veterans?
There are many ways to show thanks to the Veterans who served our country. Some restaurants offer free meals on certain days to honor our country’s Veterans. I’ve seen movie theaters offer free movie screenings or clothing stores offer discounts and coupons for Veterans too. Collectively, people, corporations, and businesses show their thanks in many different ways.
Veterans View of Thanks?
The “thank you for service phenomenon” while commendable, some of the thanks comes across as shallow and reflexive from people who mean well but lack understanding of their experience or motivations. Others feel they put their lives on the line out of service or duty and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.
When thanking our Veterans for their service, we need to think before doing so. It’s not that the Veterans are ungrateful or don’t appreciate our thanks. It’s just like their service to our country is one-of-a kind, the way in which we show gratitude to them should be well thought out and quite honestly, one-of-a-kind, also. Veterans don’t want the wam bam thank you ma’am, thank you for your service type of “Thank you’s”.
Folger’s in collaboration with Walmart actually sat down with a diverse group of Veterans from everywhere and different branches of the armed services and asked them, “how they wold prefer to be thanked for their service.” While the respondents/Veterans gave an array of responses and answers, the sentiment from all, was unanimous. One Veteran, in particular said it best:
“Move beyond bumper-sticker support for veterans. Help us help each other by doing three things: get involved with veterans’ organizations, get politically involved, and vote. —Welton Chang, U.S. Army Veteran
Another Veteran responded by saying:
“Listen when I share my stories and ask questions.—Stephanie Christopher, U.S. Army Veteran
So, the sentiment seems to be the same, Veterans want to be engaged when being thanked for their services. Not sure how to thank Veterans without being insulting or condescending? Keep reading….
Through the Share a Cup & a Story Program, both Walmart & Folger’s are encouraging people to sit down, listen, talk to Veterans, and listen to their stories. Go beyond the traditional “Thank yous” and honor our Veterans in our communities in an honorable way. Many Veteran’s live in our communities, attend places of worship and community centers. If you don’t personally know a Veteran, try visiting your local community center, or place of worship. Go beyond the customary thank you and show your appreciate for them by listening to what the have to say. Learn about them and where they came from.