Honoring Those Who Served on Veterans Day

Established in the aftermath of World War I, Armistice Day commemorated the armistice with Germany, which ended the war on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Renamed in 1954, the holiday has expanded to recognize military veterans from every U.S. conflict as #Veterans Day.

Events around the country will feature parades, speakers and moments of silence in recognition of veterans. One of the biggest this year will be held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 11 to mark the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) will stage a “Massing of the Colors” at The Wall in the run-up to the main ceremony, bringing color guards from chapters and state councils across the country to salute to veterans lost and surviving. VVA will also participate in one of the largest annual ceremonies, the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Companies employing veterans can get in on the act, Military.com says, by treating them to lunch, recognizing their sacrifice in a company newsletter, sharing stories of their service with clients and vendors, recognizing their families, or engaging in a day of community service on veterans’ behalf. Contact a local veterans service organization (VSO) to plan an event.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a handy guide to Veterans day activities if you’d like to stage your own observance. From a full-on ceremony including guest speakers, posting of colors and Taps, to classroom activities, musical programs and poster contests, all can garner respect and #honor for the nation’s veterans.

You can make your Veterans Day observance more personal if you know of a friend or family member who has served. Send a card, volunteer to take them to the local parade, or invite them out to dinner in gratitude for their service. They’ll appreciate the gesture!

And remember, every #donation you make to ClothingDonations.org helps fund essential veterans programs and events like the ones mentioned above. Schedule a free, #contactless #donation #pickup today!

Veterans Put the ‘Fun’ in Fundraiser

Regular followers of The Organizing Blog know that #donations of used clothing and household goods to ClothingDonations.org go toward programs that help #veterans pay for food, housing, health care and other necessities.

But did you know that Vietnam Veterans of America’s local chapters throughout the country also host #fundraisers that get veterans more involved with each other and their communities — while also helping veterans in need?

Veterans put the “fun” in fundraisers with parades, car shows, barbecue cook-offs and more. In doing so, they sustain chapter outreach and good works in the community, supplementing and building upon the proceeds from #donations of used goods.

Texarkana Chapter 278, for example, hosts a Wagons for Veterans fundraiser that gives locals a taste of the chuckwagon-style cooking of the Old West. The all-you-can-eat feast draws thousands of patrons for a full day of festivities every year.

Chapter 116 in Leominster, Mass., holds a fundraiser that sells locals guesses as to when a mannequin seated on a lifeguard’s perch, “Rocky,” will fall through pond ice during the spring thaw. The closest entry to the exact time wins $500, and veterans get the rest.

Many chapters sell flags, wreaths and walkway bricks to place in honor of those who served. Some hold outdoor festivals, 5Ks and charity motorcycle rides. And more host luncheons, dinners and dances, often inviting interesting guest speakers.

In addition to supporting member veterans, every chapter uses some of the money raised to give back to its community. They award college scholarships to local students, march in parades, build memorials, donate to local food pantries and much more.

If you can attend a local event, great! You’ll take part in the fun. But also remember that every time you #declutter and contact ClothingDonations.org for a free #donation #pickup, you are #donating not just to area #veterans, but to the entire community.

Theme Your Cookout to Maximize Memorial Day

After you call, visit or #memorialize your favorite #veteran(s) on Memorial Day, a cookout is the perfect way to launch the summer with family and friends. To make it truly memorable, give your gathering a festive theme, The Spruce suggests. Good menu options include Southern barbecue, craft-beer tasting, hot dog/burger bar, and (for maximum potluck potential) “You bring it, we grill it.” Add some outdoor games such as cornhole, croquet or badminton to work off those cookout calories, and let the summer fun begin! #MemorialDay

Celebrate the Start of Summer

The unofficial start to #summer, Memorial Day is ideal for a family activity, even if it’s just a short road trip or staycation. Celebrate those who gave their lives for the country by paying your respects at a cemetery, flying the flag, and making red-white-and-blue treats for a picnic or cookout, Country Living suggests. Parades are another great option, as are quick jaunts to a beach, park or nature preserve. It was a long and likely stressful winter, so take advantage of the extended weekend and — as Grandma used to say — go get some air in your fur. #MemorialDay

Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day

Established to honor those who lost their lives in service to the country, Memorial Day is a great time to honor living #veterans, too. Good Housekeeping suggests spending some of your long weekend shopping at a veteran-owned business or streaming one of the Storycorps oral histories presented by active-duty military members and veterans. You can also #donate to the #Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org, Building Homes for Heroes, and other nonprofits that help U.S. military veterans access food, housing, health care and other necessities every day of the year. #MemorialDay