I love spending time during November thinking about the blessings I enjoy. I try to write down my thoughts every Thursday in November. With Veterans Day approaching my thoughts naturally went to the brave men and women who have served our country. Our family strives teach our children the reason for this important holiday. It’s not just a day off for us to think about America. But it’s a time to remember those who have served our country.
Serving as a den leader in cub scouts has always given me a chance to teach our youth about the importance of Veterans Day. For the last couple of years we have been making homemade cards for veterans. The boys love being creative and I love encouraging them to write notes of thanks. We talk about the different branches of service as they color and stamp their cards. One year I saw a city event honoring veterans. I took the extra cards we had and went with my family. When I got there I was so bummed to realize the service was the week before. I didn’t really pay attention to the date, as I assumed it would be on Veterans Day.
Now I had about 15 cards and no one to give them to. I had already passed out other cards to local veterans that we knew. I was driving around and praying and looking for someplace where I could share these cards. Then I saw it. A retirement community. We walked in and immediately saw some older residents, most of them wearing hats and shirts with their branch being shown. They were so excited to see youth, especially my sons in their scout uniforms. We introduced ourselves and shook their hands. We had an awesome visit with them for quite some time. They really appreciated the cards, but even more they loved being remembered.
We took the rest of the cards to the front desk where we found an activities chairman. We asked her to distribute the rest of the cards to those who might need them the most. It was my favorite Veterans day ever. Since then we have continued to make cards and visit with veterans.
Last year I found a local assisted living home with about 5 residents through Just Serve. We decided to visit these residents as they probably didn’t receive as many visitors. We remind the scouts how to talk to someone older than them and the importance of listening and asking questions. We even had the boys sing the different branch songs at the end. It’s a wonderful tradition and we also decided to visit again and sing Christmas Carols the next month.
If you haven’t heard of Just Serve let me tell you all about it! It’s a non profit website with the only purpose is to help members of the community find local ways to serve others. You can go on their website and enter your zip code. That’s it. Lot of options will come up of opportunities to serve. You can narrow it down by the age of the volunteers or search key words. It’s a great way to find ways to serve in your community either as a family, scout troop, or an individual. And if you work with an organization that needs volunteers you can request help through the website too.
I decided to make these free printable veterans day cards to make it easier to remember our veterans. I love having our boys stamp red, white, and blue stars and stripes. But in case you don’t have boxes of stamps or supplies you can simple print off these cards. Preferably on cardstock. Then cut along the dotted line and fold each card in half. You are going to want to trim the ‘God Bless America’ card. Then write a heart felt message and sign your name.
Yesterday as I worked with our cubs I asked them what veterans want most from us. I was so happy to hear one of my boys reply ‘to be remembered’. It’s such a simple thing. But it means so much. Our veterans didn’t sacrifice so much to get a discount on coffee or a home made card from a scout. They gave their all because they love this country and what it stands for. And by taking time to remember them and show appreciation we can let them know we love America too.