Each year, November 11 marks Veteran’s Day in “honor of the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I, known as Armistice Day.” In 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day.
Veteran’s Day honors those who have served in the military, recognizing their service and sacrifice. Memorial Day remembers the fallen and Armed Forces Day recognizes all those who are active duty and currently serving.
According to Charity Navigator, “people donate more than $2.5 billion annually to the over 40,000 American charities with military-related missions.” Their list of highly-rated organizations has three categories: wounded troops services, military social services, and military family support.
The level of need is high. Veterans span from the greatest generation who are now in their 90s and older to young adults who are transitioning home from active duty, many with traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, and other injuries. According to a Brown University study released earlier this year, far too many are dying by suicide.
“Since 9/11, four times as many U.S. service members and veterans have died by suicide than have been killed in combat.”
Nonprofits dedicated to serving our veterans are actively working to meet their needs.
The mission of the National Veterans Foundation (NVF) is to serve the crisis management needs of veterans and their families with the country’s first toll-free helpline.
Hope for the Warriors was founded by military family members who were witnessing, firsthand, the effects of war on their loved ones. Their programs and services focus on transition, health and wellness, and sports and recreation.
The Honor Flight Network has an incredible mission to transport our WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to Washington DC to see the memorials dedicated to their service on the national mall.
One of the oldest organizations is the USO, which entertained troops with shows such as Bob Hope concerts at military bases. The organization provides much more, including helping veterans transition to civilian life after service. According to their website, 200,000 service members will transition into civilian communities each year.
Just about every town in America has a VFW Post — a place where the Veterans of Foreign Wars can gather, find assistance, learn from and help one another, and advocate in the community about the needs of veterans.
Just as recognizable as the VFW, there are several nonprofits whose namesakes are part of the story: Gary Sinise Foundation shows gratitude to those who serve, Bob Woodruff Foundation has become a leader in veteran philanthropy, and Pat Tillman Foundation provides scholarships and leadership development opportunities to veterans and their spouses.
We encourage you to pause today to remember the sacrifice of our veterans. We are grateful that they answered the call to serve, and we are inspired to support organizations whose missions are designed to meet their needs.
To all the veterans today, we thank you for your service.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO