HOOAH!: Veterans Day and How To Say Thanks

Chad Graden

Another year has past and we are looking at another Veterans Day holiday, or what I like to call “Survivors Day.” Anyone who knows me understands that I struggle with this day, but for once I am not going to dwell on being negative this year. Instead, I will give my advice on how to properly thank a veteran.

A lot of places will give vets free food, haircuts, and many other benefits on Veterans Day. A lot of people like to pay for a veterans food, or items at a store, or approach a vet in public with a simple “thank you” (this is best). All of these things are greatly appreciated, but sometimes we just go a little too far in displaying our affection.

To be completely honest, the best way to truly thank a veteran, and all veterans, for their service and sacrifices is to live your life the way you want to live it. Live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment of it. Work hard, be a positive influence on other people, and inspire others. Don’t take your life or your freedom for granted. Do the things you want to do, see the places you want to see, and meet the people you want to meet. Get married, or don’t, have children, or not, just do whatever it is you want to do in life that makes you happy.

That is how you thank a veteran. That may sound simple and silly, but it’s one hundred percent true. The men and women who swore an oath to protect our nation did so because they want you to live happy and free, and do whatever it is that you do. They didn’t enlist for the money (trust me it’s not good), the benefits, or the fame. Those who’ve fought overseas did so because they love what we have here at home.

Thousands and thousands of American soldiers have died throughout history for the simple idea of freedom. They all died for you and me. Some gave all, and some gave some, but they were all willing to die for us. That’s a pretty big thought if you really think about it. A simple thanks is enough, but the true way to thank a veteran is to just to live your life and enjoy your freedom.

Chad Graden in a senior in the education program and a combat veteran of Afghanistan.