“But the thing about remembering is that you don’t forget.” – Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”
Veterans Day falls each year on November 11. As many people know, the holiday dates back to World War I, when the world celebrated the laying down of arms, known as Armistice Day. Here at HISTORY, observing Veterans Day is a company-wide effort. Starting in 2007, we launched a program called Take a Veteran to School. Every year the program has grown, and this year thousands of schools in all 50 states are participating. The concept is simple: organize a Veterans Day celebration so students can learn more about the holiday, and invite veterans in the community to receive heartfelt thanks for their service.
Our online hub for Veterans Day, Veterans.com, features classroom materials and much more information for Veterans Day. This includes resources for the Thank a Veteran at Work program, in which employers organize ways to honor veterans on or near Veterans Day. Check out our Thank a Veteran at Work tip sheet, which highlights options for making these celebrations easy and meaningful without requiring a lot of time or money.
HISTORY also has a fun social media campaign based on the theme “It’s Never Too Late to Say Thank You.” Using the hashtag #THANKAVET, you can thank veterans in your family or community on Twitter. People all across the country take part in this viral campaign each November. We also have a special website that makes it easy to type in a Tweet. There you’ll find some great videos and PSAs connected to the campaign.
The quote at the top of this post comes from one of Tim O’Brien’s incredible books of short stories about the Vietnam War. Since HISTORY first launched our veteran-related initiatives, many of us have seen and heard firsthand the stories that our veterans carry with them throughout their lives. These stories can be intensely personal, and they are also part of our history—they are documents of our past. One of my favorite programs at HISTORY is called Film Corps, which preserves footage and stories of those who have served. Check out these videos here, and don’t forget to thank a vet this fall!
Kim Gilmore is a historian and director of corporate outreach at HISTORY.