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Make Their Day Memorable: Special Ways to Reward a Family Veteran

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All across the United States there are parades and fireworks on Veteran's Day. Restaurants offer free meals and many other businesses make discounts available to those who have served their country. These reminders of the importance of the sacrifices many have made are meaningful, but they are not as precious as what family and friends can do for their own loved ones. A celebratory event held specifically for them and their service is personal, and the extra effort will be especially rewarding to the guest of honor.

Display All Medals

Every medal has meaning, so all should be on display at a veteran's celebration. If some have been lost or damaged over time, the government will provide duplicates to the veteran or their next of kin. The Office of Public Affairs website has all the information needed to get replacement medals ordered. Be certain to plan ahead to allow time for processing and shipping. 

Give an Award

Trophy and award companies generally offer military-style medals that anyone can purchase. These are obviously not official medals, but they are a distinguished and attractive item that families can purchase and have engraved to commemorate a celebration day. Plaques are also available, and many provide enough space to hold a personal message, date of service, or the celebration date as well as any other details desired. Contact a representative from a company like Hometown Awards for more tips and various options.

Frame Special Documents

Letters of commendation, special awards, and discharge letters are all important to a veteran's time in service. Consider framing and displaying these along with any medals. If the person of honor had a lengthy military career, it may be necessary to create a memory book rather than frame each individual item. To obtain these records, a service record request can be made to the National Archives. Their website explains what is typically provided when a request is submitted. 

Invite Fellow Soldiers

It is illegal for the government to give out the personal information of soldiers to anyone other than next of kin, but many local organizations can help to reunite people who served together. The American Legion and a local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) chapter may be able to assist. They will need as much information as possible about the branch of military the individual served in, the date of their service, and where they were stationed.

Fly a Flag

For a fee, anyone can contact their local senator and have them fly a flag in honor of a specific person or occasion. When completed, the flag will be shipped to the individual and will include a certificate of when it was flown and who or what it was flown to honor. Each senator has the offer available on their website, usually under the "services" tab, but not always. If the information cannot be found, contact their office for more information. 

This type of thank you celebration does not need to be held on Veteran's Day, at the time a person retires from the military, or immediately after they return home from a deployment. It can be enjoyed on a birthday, anniversary, or any other time of the year. Whether a veteran's time in the service ended last year or several decades ago, receiving appreciation and respect from friends and family will be a wonderful gift that every veteran deserves.