Veteran’s Day is a fantastic reason to say thank you for all the sacrifices that our soldiers make for us. It should not be the only time we thank them though because there are so many sacrifices they make every day that should be recognized. Many soldiers will miss the birth of their child and much of the first year of their child’s life in some instances. They will spend numerous holidays without the warmth of friends and family as well as more than one birthday. Many will face lasting effects from their service but they will not think to complain about it. There are countless moments of their lives they will miss so that they can protect and defend our right to enjoy those moments with our own family. While we should spend a day expressing our complete gratitude for these brave men and women, there are so many other opportunities throughout the rest of the year we can take advantage of.

• Volunteer at your local USO or Veterans Affairs office: There are numerous opportunities for all ages to help out and many of them you can help as a family. You can spend the day simply listening to a vet tell their story or volunteer at one of the events that the USO provides for soldiers and their families. Most of the opportunities are of no cost to you and both organizations are always looking for more volunteers .

Spend a day learning about what our veterans do: Go to a military museum as a family or watch a family friendly documentary about the military service. Make sure your children know about what veterans are in your family, and if possible have that family member tell their story to your children.

Offer to babysit or pet sit for a military friend: A veteran’s sacrifices extend to their family as well. Give a veteran and their spouse a night or weekend out as a thank you for the sacrifice of their time apart. You can also offer to sponsor a pet during a veteran’s deployment so that they do not have to permanently re-home their furry friend.

Have a veteran over for the holidays: Even when stationed in the states, a soldier can be far from his/her friends and family. Inviting a veteran over for a holiday meal with your family can help them feel less lonely during the holiday season.

Simply say thank you: These two words have a tremendous impact for a soldier because it shows that you care about their sacrifice. They are reminded why they make those sacrifices and your gratitude means everything to a veteran. It is the easiest thing you can do and you can do it daily.

Veteran’s day is a reminder to American citizens that there are many brave men and women who are not only willing, but are proud to defend our rights and safety. While we can never fully thank them for what they give every day, we can always make an effort to express our gratitude. I am proud to be the wife of a soldier and I am proud that we can serve our country and all of the amazing families that make it up.

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