This July, when we Americans celebrate our Independence Day, it’s important to spare a thought for the many heroes in uniform who have selflessly sacrificed their lives and well-being for our freedom. After all, it’s only through their bravery and courage that we can live freely like we do. As such, we should take this month as not only an opportunity to celebrate all things about our great nation, but also to honor our veterans—those who have passed and those who we are fortunate to still be around to enjoy what they fought for.

In this short article, we’ll share some ideas on how you, as an ordinary America, can help in honoring our vets this month of July.

Wear patriotic memorabilia

Honoring our veterans can be as simple as wearing symbols of patriotism on our person while we go about our day-to-day lives, such as a T-shirt emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes, or a cap that’s printed with the words “God Bless America.” If you want your display of patriotism to be a more subtle one, then you can wear an enamel lapel pin that’s customized to sport a national icon, such as the American flag, the bald eagle, or the likeness of the country’s map. Many services online allow you to customize and order lapel pins in bulk for very affordable prices, so you can buy some for yourself and then give the rest away to your family and friends.

Give personalized thank-you cards to veterans

While it may make sense to just thank veterans for their service when you meet them, it’s always better to do it in a way that they can remember and cherish for the years to come. To do that, you need thank-you cards. Either make your own from scratch with your family, or simply buy a pack or so of patriotic thank-you cards from the store and personalize each one with a handwritten message. Give them to every uniformed veteran you meet in your community—you’ll be sure to brighten up their 4th of July immensely.

Visit the grave or memorial of a beloved veteran in your family

If you have a veteran loved one who’s already passed on, then devote some time during your 4th of July holiday to visiting their grave and paying your respects. You can give their resting place and the area around it a good cleaning, and spruce it up a bit with some flowers and a flag. You can also say prayers if you feel like doing so.

Hire a veteran as an employee in your business

Do you have your own business? If so, then you can honor our veterans by hiring one instead of an ordinary civilian. There are many programs out there that can help connect you with veterans seeking civilian employment after their tour of duty in the armed forces has ended. Not only will you be giving thanks to their service and sacrifice, you’ll also be helping them get back on their feet in the society they’ve protected.

Invite veteran families to your barbecue

If you know of any veteran families in your neighborhood but aren’t too familiar with them, make the effort to connect with them. Even if they didn’t serve as members of our armed forces, their sacrifice is still very much valid and worthy of commendation. Invite them to your community barbecue or any other of your gatherings in your neighborhood

Pay a visit to old and retired vets

Many vets who are still alive are now retired, and are either living by themselves or in old folks’ homes. The sad truth of it is that most of them will be spending Independence Day alone. Lift up their spirits by giving them a visit this Fourth of July, and thanking them personally for their service. You can also give them small heartfelt gifts or tokens to truly show your appreciation for them.

Donate to veteran support groups and organizations

Our country’s veterans need all the help they can get, especially after their selfless years of service. Many of them return unable to fit in to the civilian world, or find it difficult to earn a living with their current set of skills. If you can’t directly help out a veteran right now, what you can do instead is to donate to charities and organizations that provide support to our veterans. You don’t have to donate much—even a little bit goes a long way. Our veterans sacrifice so much for our country, and yet many of receive so little in return for their service. Let’s take this year’s Fourth of July, as well as those that will come after, as opportunities to right this wrong. It’s the least we can do for the brave souls that were ready to die for our country’s freedom.

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