How to Honor a Veteran This Memorial Day

By Blair Klayko

There is nothing more special than honoring U.S. service members who died while serving in the military, especially those we call friends and family. For our loved ones who served, the sense of pride in their commitment to the country and memories of their service can impact their lives and shape the person they have become. 

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We honor and celebrate our veterans every day, but this Memorial Day plan for more than simply enjoying the day off of work or school. There are many ways to make your veteran the center of appreciation on this day of remembrance. 

Check your local paper or government website for ideas on events to attend in your area. Many towns hold parades, festivals or community commemorations. Visit the U.S. Memorial Day Parade Directory to find one near you. 

 Find a way to volunteer. You can decorate a veterans’ cemetery, support veterans at the VA hospital, help plan and execute Memorial Day events in your area or donate blood through the American Red Cross. Volunteering and giving back is a very special way to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our military members, both past and present. 

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, which is fitting as many Americans today visit the cemetery to clean and decorate family graves. If you don’t choose to volunteer for the cemetery at large, honoring the graves of your own loved one is a lovely way to commemorate their service to the country. As a bonus, the family can spend active time outdoors together. Reward yourselves with a picnic or meal afterward for your hard work. 

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If Memorial Day is a more solemn day for your family, take the time to remember your loved ones and ancestors in a more quiet way by simply going to lunch or for a walk. You can share stories about your loved ones who have passed, as well as learn stories about ancestors from veterans who are still able to share their experiences and wisdom. 

If you want to pay your thanks forward, send something to troops around the world. USO Care Packages can be extremely affordable starting at $25, and there are organizations that collect donated cell phones to help troops stay in touch with loved ones at home. You can also simply gather your family and write letters to our troops. 

Kindred Healthcare strives to show our appreciation for our country’s veterans each and every year. Kindred is a participant in the We Honor Veterans program, which was established in 2010 to provide the best care possible to veterans by offering care tailored to their specific needs and treatments.

 At Kindred we are grateful for the honor to care for service men and women who keep the United States safe year in and year out. Call 1.866.KINDRED to speak to a Registered Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week to learn more about this program.