5 Simple Ways to Thank a Veteran Today
1. Say Thank You – Just the simple act of saying “Thank you for your service” goes a long way with veterans. Throw in a handshake too, you’re bound to see a smile on their face, which will make it all worth it.
2. Volunteer – Do something for the veterans in your community. Seriously, what’s an hour of your time for the sacrifices they’ve made? Check out uso.org for ways that you can help. At the least, drop off an anonymous letter at your local VA thanking a veteran; it will get to the right person.
3. Donate – Make a small donation today to any of the fantastic organizations out there that help veterans each and every day. Some of our favorites here at ITS are Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled American Veterans.
4. Pay for Lunch – One of my fondest memories while serving was actually when a complete stranger came up to a group of three of my buddies and I and paid for our lunch. We were in our Dress Blues eating at a Friday’s in the airport on our way out to San Diego. He simply walked up said “We appreciate what you guys are doing (pointing to the table of three other men appearing to be traveling on business), this one’s on us.” Offer to pay for a veteran’s meal today.
5. Never Forget – One of the biggest things you can do, and I think all my veteran brothers will agree with me here, is to make the most out of the opportunity you’ve been given. Our freedoms have been paved with the sacrifices of our soldiers and they did so for all of us to enjoy this great country; let’s not forget that or take it for granted.
At military funerals, one often sees three volleys of shots fired in honor of the deceased veteran. This is often mistaken by the layman as a 21-gun salute, although it is entirely different. In the military, a “gun” is a large-caliber weapon. The three volleys are fired from “rifles,” not “guns.” Therefore, the three volleys isn’t any kind of “gun salute” at all.
Anyone who is entitled to a military funeral (generally anyone who dies on active duty, honorably discharged veterans, and military retirees) are entitled to the three rifle volleys, subject to availability of honor guard teams. This is not a 21-gun salute, nor any other type of “gun salute.” They are simply three rifle volleys fired. The firing team can consist of any number, but one usually sees a team of eight, with a noncommissioned officer in charge of the firing detail. Whether the team consists of three or eight, or ten, each member fires three times (three volleys).
The three volleys come from an old battlefield custom. The two warring sides would cease hostilities to clear their dead from the battlefield, and the firing of three volleys meant that the dead had been properly cared for and the side was ready to resume the battle.
The flag detail often slips three shell-casings into the folded flag before presenting the flag to the family. Each casing represents one volley.
This information is provided by Northern Indiana Funeral Care of Fort Wayne, a leader in funeral and cremation services to veterans in Northeast Indiana. Northern Indiana Funeral Care is a provider of Veterans Funeral Care and is honored to have the exclusive endorsement of The American Legion, Department of Indiana. We are committed to offering low cost funeral and cremation options without compromising service. Please contact our office at (877) 382-2756 or visit our website at www.northernindianafuneralcare.com.