Although the first Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, wasn’t first observed until 1919, Americans have served their country among the military branches since the American Revolutionary War.

Every year, it’s a day to set aside time to remember those military members, past and present, on Nov. 11. President Woodrow Wilson picked the date in honor of the end of World War I.

So, what’s the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day? While Veterans Day commemorates the service given by all U.S. veterans, Memorial Day, observed in May, honors military members who have died while in service.

Today, there are some 19 million veterans, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday, so many people have the time off work and school to remember the occasion. Across Florida and the country, there are activities to participate in to honor military members, including parades and other shows of public support.


Are you looking for ways for you and your family to show appreciation for veterans on Nov. 11? Here are a few ideas.

  1. Consider dropping off a treat at a local veterans group, hospital or clinic. Here are a few ideas:

  • Goody bags. Decorate zip-top bags, with a Sharpie marker or stickers. Inside the bag, include items like pretzels, miniature candy bars, a granola bar, raisins or a beef jerky stick. Throw in a small pack of handy wipes and lip balm sticks. Make as many or as few goody bags as you like.

  • Cupcakes. Bake a dozen or so and frost them in white icing. Decorate the tops with slices of fresh strawberries and fresh, whole blueberries to represent the red, white and blue. Include a note expressing appreciation for their military service.

  • Medals. Have kids cut circles out of yellow construction paper and write in the center, “Thank you for your service” in Sharpie marker. Cut long rectangles from construction paper and cut a wedge out of one end. Glue the yellow circle on top of the blue “ribbon,” and decorate the blue paper with star stickers.

  • Flower arrangement. Find a nice glass vase at a thrift store. Purchase a bouquet of mixed flowers and arrange them in the vase, along with several small American flags. Attach a note of appreciation. The flower arrangement will brighten up an entrance, lobby or other public space where veterans gather.

  1. Attend a Veterans Day parade or other event. Bring a sign or a small American flag, wave at veterans as they pass by and thank them for their service to the country. Check out this list of events happening near you.

  2. Interview a Veteran. Ask family or friends to recommend a veteran they know to be interviewed. Sit down and video record a chat that includes questions about what branch the veteran served in and when, why they wanted to serve, some favorite memories of being in the military, the hardest thing they faced and what it felt like to return home.Some veterans groups may post the interview on their social media, or you can ask about submitting it to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. The video could also be used as a school project.

  3. Host a bake sale with all proceeds benefiting a veterans group of your choosing. Present a money order for the amount raised with a thank you card expressing appreciation for their military service to the group.

  4. Volunteer. Contact a local veterans group, hospital or clinic and see if you and your family can volunteer for the day to show your appreciation. Consider making it a regular activity.

Staff at the Volusia County Veteran Services in Deland also suggest writing letters to veterans to express your thanks. Letters can be dropped off at the VA nursing home in Daytona or any of the outpatient VA clinics in the county.

They shared that another way to express thanks is to create a huge “Thank you Veterans” sign and display it in your yard for all veterans to see.


For more on Flagler County Veterans Services, call 386-313-4014 or visit

For more on St Johns County Veterans Services, call 904-209-6160 or visit

For more on Volusia County Veterans Services, call 486-740-5102 or visit