11 ways to thank a veteran on 11-11-11

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Daily Herald staff report
Updated 11/11/2011 3:00 PM

By a quirk of the calendar, this year's Veterans Day -- a holiday set for Nov. 11 in recognition of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended World War I -- falls on 11/11/11. So, in keeping with a theme, here are 11 ways you can honor a veteran today:

1. Stand up at 11 a.m., put your hand over your heart and face the East for one minute. Honoring the Armistice signing in France (at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918) in this manner has largely gone out of vogue in the U.S. although Armistice Day remembrances in Europe are coming back into practice. The last surviving U.S. World War I veteran died in February -- you can give that whole class of Americans one final salute in a way they would have appreciated.


2. Send a card or note to a hospitalized veteran or one living in a veterans home. Better yet, if it's possible, take time to visit one. To find a location, visit www.va.gov. Or send a letter for the holidays through the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes' 5th annual Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

3. Attend a Veterans Day ceremony in your community (see our list of local events in Neighbor).

4. If you own a company, or make employment decisions, consider hiring a veteran. While the national unemployment rate sat at about 9 percent in September, the rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars rose to 12.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5. Leave a message online thanking veterans for their sacrifice. Messages can be left at the Facebook pages for the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force.

6. Research and donate time or money to a local charity that helps homeless veterans. About 13,000 former service members between 18 and 30 were homeless in 2010, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans Affairs. Their study showed an estimated 145,000 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter or transitional housing in 2010.

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7. Donate to or assist an organization that helps wounded veterans, such as Disabled American Veterans, the Wounded Warriors Project or Soldiers Angels.

8. Learn about local, state and national issues affecting veterans then let your voice be heard. To find out more about some of those issues before Congress, visit veterans.house.gov.

9. Leave a public voice mail expressing gratitude to veterans. Canary Voice's Voices of Gratitude" program allows callers to leave a voice message of up to two minutes in length. The completed voice album will be accessible for all to hear throughout the holidays.

10. Help a veteran tell his or her story through the Veteran's History Project. A field kit for the program is available through the Library of Congress website.

11. Make sure your children understand the significance of Veterans Day and the sacrifice of those who have served. And at the very least, be sure to say "thank you" to a veteran today, be it a friend, family member, co-worker or just someone you see in the community.

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