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Here’s How To Show Your Appreciation To Our Veterans

It's the very least you could do.

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On Veterans Day, we honor the some 22 million American veterans and approximately 1.4 million active duty service members who have sacrificed so much to keep America safe and free.

Here are a few simple ways to show your appreciation to our men and women in uniform.

It's the very least you could do.

1. You could display a yellow ribbon to show your support.

Tim Boyle / Getty Images

Displaying a yellow ribbon, whether pinned to your clothing or tied around a tree in your yard, is a simple and kind gesture to express your appreciation for the men and women fighting for your freedom.

2. Remember that there are 364 other days to celebrate our Vets too.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Jared Padula / Via Flickr: marine_corps

Yes—Veterans Day is the time we can join together as a nation and sing our praise for America's bravest, but after that day passes their jobs still go on. Expressing our appreciation for our service members isn't just a holiday, it's part of being an American.

3. Don't forget their families either.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Olivia McDonald / Via Flickr: marine_corps

Behind every man and woman in uniform there's a loved one that has sacrificed just as much—be it a mother, a father, a spouse, or a child. On Veterans Day, don't forget the families that are waiting on the home front for their loved ones to return home from foreign soil.

4. And our furry American heroes too!

Lance Cpl. Megan Sindelar / Marines / Via Flickr: marine_corps

A good dog is man's best friend. You'll be hard pressed to find a more loyal and trustworthy companion than the K9s who support our military in the field. Don't forget that these furry American heroes are veterans too!

5. You could pick up the tab.

Scott A. Miller / AP

It's a simple way to show your appreciation. If you notice a uniformed service member enjoying a meal, why don't you pick up the tab?

6. Or offer to buy a soldier a drink.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

So you're standing in line at Starbucks, checking BuzzFeed on your cell and waiting to order your grande pumpkin spiced latte. You notice that a uniformed service member gets in line behind you—what do you do? Tell the barista to put their coffee on your tab and we promise that it'll totally make their morning.

7. You could put together a care package.

Bianca Sanchez

Many of our service members are thousands of miles away from the comforts of home. As winter is approaching, care packages of hygiene supplies, socks, non-perishable foods, and magazines are all cherished amongst our troops. It's the small things that make all the difference. Contact the Public Affairs Officer at your nearest military installation to find out where to send your packages.

10. And one for those who have sacrificed everything.

Flickr: usarmyafrica

These are the people who lived their lives to give everything for your freedom and safety—a well placed flag is an enormous sign of respect and appreciation.

11. You could donate gifts to make this holiday season magical for their families.

Boris Grdanoski / AP

The holiday season can be tough on our military and their families, especially if that service member is deployed overseas during the holiday. Charities such as Able Forces and the YMCA's Operation Holiday Joy program offer an opportunity to spread the holiday spirit.

12. Volunteer at a VA hospital.

Ross D. Franklin / AP

Any VA hospital would be more than happy to have you volunteer your services, and a simple visit to give your thanks is always appreciated amongst the patients and staff. Learn more about how to offer your time here.

13. Attend a Veterans Day parade.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Get out there, get some fresh air, and join in the festivities! Veterans Day parades are always a great opportunity to personally thank our armed service members.

14. Donate to veterans who have fallen on hard times.

John Moore / Getty Images

One of our greatest national tragedies is when an individual that has sacrificed so much for us is left out on the street with no roof over their head, no warm bed to sleep at night, or in a home that doesn't suit their medical needs. Donating to charities such the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Homes for Our Troops helps these men and women get back on their feet.

15. Take a moment to stop and listen to a veteran's story.

Kent Nishimura / Getty Images

These are real American heroes that don't have personal biographers or million dollar movie deals, so it's through their words that their legacy carries on. Sometimes lending an ear is all that's needed to show your appreciation.

16. Remember the past generations who fought for today's freedoms.

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

So much of what we take for granted today was earned by generations that have come before us. On Veterans Day, take a moment to thank our grandfathers and grandmothers for their service as well.

How do you show your appreciation to our military service members?

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