How to Celebrate Veterans Day With Your Family

young girl holding an American flag

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Veterans Day is a fall holiday that most families have heard of but may not know the history of it and why it is celebrated. For military families, this is perhaps a holiday that is honored every year. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Veterans Day while also teaching your kids what it is all about.

Though this is a bit of a solemn holiday with very serious roots in American history, it can be a day of celebration and honoring our armed forces. Even if your family doesn't know any veterans, you can still discuss the origins of this day with your children and explain to them how it plays a role in the country's history.

Whether your family has celebrated Veterans Day every year or you're looking for how to celebrate it for the first time, here are six ways to share this day with each other.

What Is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is a United States holiday that celebrates those who have served in the armed forces. The first time this holiday was celebrated was in 1919. It was previously known as Armistice Day, which was changed in 1954 to Veterans Day. The time of Veterans Day is observed as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marked the end of the war.

When Is It Celebrated?

Veterans Day is celebrated each year on Nov. 11, which is the anniversary of the end of World War I. Regardless of the day of the week, the holiday falls on Nov. 11, but if it’s a weekend day, it is observed by businesses on the nearest weekday.

Why Is It Celebrated?

Veterans Day was originally celebrated to honor those who served in the war—especially those who lost their lives in the war. As the years have progressed, it has grown into a day to honor all of the Americans who served in the armed forces over the years while still celebrating those who lost their lives while serving their country.

Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Veterans Day

Veterans Day may not be a holiday that many people truly celebrate, which may come down to not knowing what to do. While many military families probably already make it a point to honor those in the armed forces on Veterans Day, there are many ways that non-military families can too. Here are some ideas for families to celebrate Veterans Day.

Visit a Veterans Affairs Hospital

If there’s a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in your area, look to see when visiting hours are. The hospital may even have something going on for Veterans Day, which you could take part in. Your children can make cards and gifts for any soldiers who are currently in the hospital and up for visitors.

Just like in any regular hospital, those in a VA hospital may appreciate a bit of brightness from you and your children stopping by with a smile and a card. Explain to your children what it means to be a soldier, why people serve in the military, and ensure they know the importance of thanking soldiers for their service.

Adopt a Soldier

You and your family could "adopt a soldier" currently serving in the military and put together a care package. This is a great activity for any time, not just Veterans Day. If you've been considering adopting a soldier for a while, Veterans Day is the perfect opportunity to start.

There are numerous sites that will help you adopt a soldier—like America’s Adopt a Soldier, Operation Adopt a Soldier, and Soldier’s Angels. You can donate money, send letters, and send packages through these organizations. With some of these programs, your children may be able to make a bunch of cards to send to one base camp so multiple soldiers get one.

Host a Fundraiser

If your children are budding business people and philanthropists, they may enjoy doing a little fundraiser and donating profits to a charity that benefits veterans.

This could be a lemonade stand (if you live in a climate where a lemonade stand makes sense in November), offering services (like leaf cleanup or lawn mowing) for donations, or even asking for donated goods that they can put together into a care package. Your community can be a great source of help in coming together for veterans—all you have to do is ask.

Organize an Event With Veterans

Consider reaching out to your child's school to head up a Veterans Day event. Perhaps you can recruit a couple veterans to speak in classes about their time in the armed forces and what they've learned.

Students can learn firsthand about what it's like to serve the country. Events like this can also be comforting for veterans who want to share their world with a new generation. And who knows—it may even inspire a child to become a member of the armed forces when they grow up.

Decorate Your Yard

Let your children's patriotism take center stage by decorating your yard for all to see. You can make signs together, hang flags, paint rocks red, white, and blue, or create anything else your imagination comes up with. You could even hang red, white, and blue lights in the yard. Kids can paint "thank you" messages on posters and hang them in the yard and encourage passersby to do the same.

Take a Virtual Tour of War Memorials

Google Arts & Culture created a virtual tour of war memorials so you and your children can see them even when travel isn't an option. You'll get to see and learn all about the Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and more.

A Word From Verywell

Veterans Day is a great day to teach your kids about sacrifice and what it means to serve your country. No matter what you do to celebrate, though, the most important part is respectfully celebrating and honoring the members of the U.S. armed forces.

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  1. Piehler GK. War and Memory. In: Kieran D, Martini E, eds. At War. Rutgers University Press; 2018. doi:10.36019/9780813584331-017