gettyimages 576827972 Different ways to honor vets during National Veterans Month

A veteran of the War In Vietnam visits “the wall” on a day prior to the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

It’s official: veterans now have an entire month all to ourselves! An official proclamation was signed this week by the President, making November Veterans and Military Families Month. Of course this means we have an additional 29 days to honor vets, so here’s a few different ways to help make this month special for our fellow Americans who served.

One of the best ways we can honor our fellow vets is to help clean up the graves of veterans.  Many local veterans groups have coordinated efforts around Veterans Day.  Some even have “adopt-a-grave” programs so you can show your support all year long.

A very iconic way to honor veterans is with a parade. One of the largest is America’s Parade in New York City. It’s been around since 1929 and has more than 35,000 participants. Head down to Birmingham, Alabama for another great parade with a good hook: Raymond Weeks, the person who fought for a national holiday to honor vets called Birmingham home. Here’s a good site that lists parades by state.

If a parade isn’t your style, there are many art exhibits going on in honor of America’s veterans. The Austin Art Space Gallery in Austin, TX has a show featuring art created by veterans. A new exhibit will be featured at the National Veterans Art Museum called Vietnam – The Defining Moment opens on Veterans Day this year. The 2017 show opens on Nov. 10 at New Mexico Veterans Art in Albuquerque, NM.

If you want to laugh at veterans, that can be arranged as well. There are a few comedians who are also veterans that have been causing a chuckle or two on the comedy circuits. Air Force veteran Jose Sarduy, Naval Academy graduate Julia Lillis, James P. Connolly and Benari Poulten are just a few to look for.

With a little effort, you can find a restaurant with a chef who’s also a veteran. John Besh, is in the New Orleans area and is a Marine veteran. Brandon Velie who’s the chef at Juniper in Ridge Spring, SC, is a Marine veteran as well. Then once you’re done eating, do a Google search for a personal trainer who’s also a veteran, you’ll find one or two no matter where you are!

While you’re out and about, why not buy from a veteran owned business as a way to honor those who served? Buyveteran.com came up with several different places around my neighborhood when I typed in my zip code. It’s estimated that there are over 3 million veteran-owned businesses in the US.

The VA has a list of its events on its website, here.  And if you’re still not sure what to do, the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VAMC has a list of 45 things you can do to honor veterans this month.

Connect: @JonathanVets1 | Jonathan@ConnectingVets.com

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