Getting Involved on Veterans Day

Getting Involved on Veterans Day

I always knew about the origins of Veterans Day, but interning at the United States World War I Centennial Commission (WWICC) has provided me with a whole new perspective on November 11th.  This coming Friday is Veterans Day, an American holiday that honors military veterans - or, as it is more commonly known, "Awesome, a three-day weekend!" November 11th began as Armistice Day in the United States and is commonly recognized as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day around the world because it marks the day that World War I finally began to come to a close. On November 11th, 1918, the Armistice with Germany went into effect, signalling the beginning of the end of the Great War. In the United States, Armistice Day was expanded to Veterans Day, to honor all veterans, which is a fantastic thing.  However, the fact that recognition of WWI and those that served in it has fallen by the wayside is an unfortunate consequence as well.

 

One cool thing that the WWICC is doing to promote honoring veterans on Veterans Day is a social media campaign called #CountdownToVeteransDay. I talked about this in a previous blog post of mine but in short, #CountdownToVeteransDay aims to promote Veterans Day as a day-on instead of a day-off. I'm all for this initiative for many reasons, including my personal belief in the importance of remembering the past and in the impact of civic engagement.  Thus, I appeal to all of you reading this - even if it is merely three of my Facebook friends and my parents - to consider participating in some sort of activity that actively honors and commemorates, or at least serves your community for the better.

 

So. Need some help finding those opportunities?  Don't worry, I've got you.


#CountdownToVeteransDay

The first place to begin poking about is the #CountdownToVeteransDay website. You can find a huge list of organizations that welcome volunteers with open arms. You can also utilize the hashtag #CountdownToVeteransDay to spread awareness about your own activities!

 

Talking It Out

Just say something! It's that simple. Bring up the significance of Veterans Day while talking about your plans for the long weekend with friends or if you participate in any sort of organized groups with open comment periods, speak up. It doesn't have to be an awkward pivot in a conversation, but a simple comment about the significance of Veterans Day could make a tiny difference in someone's brain. Not all changes are major or immediate; sometimes planting a tiny seed of thought is good enough, as Christopher Nolan taught us all over the span of two and a half hours back in 2010.

 

Flag Planting at the D.C. War Memorial

I know that this isn't a viable option for everyone out there, but if you're in the Washington, D.C. area, one of my fellow interns at the WWICC is running a flag planting event at the D.C. War Memorial this Friday. Simply RSVP on Facebook and arrive ready to assist! I know at least two of the people that will be there and they are absolutely wonderful folks that you won't regret meeting.

 

Get Creative

Come up with an idea of your own and go for it! For example, I like to crochet, so I've been brewing up a plan to yarn bomb around me with some extremely easy to crochet poppies. The poppies will be attached to a slip of paper which will have something related to Veterans Day written on it. I know that poppies are traditionally utilized in the United States for Memorial Day and not Veterans Day, but given that I am just yarn bombing, I think it will be okay. Besides, poppies are a large part of November 11th holidays around the rest of the world - Remembrance Day is so closely linked to the imagery of red poppies that it is also informally known as Poppy Day - so perhaps this could be construed as simply spreading cultural awareness!

 

A crochet poppy I made currently pinned to a cubicle wall at the WWICC.


Regardless of how you spend your upcoming Friday, I hope you have a happy three-day weekend and a thoughtful Veterans/Remembrance/Armistice Day.

 

All the best,

 

Read Adrienne's previous blog posts

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