Ways to Thank a Veteran

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November 11th is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor all who have served in the U.S. Military. We, of course, are the most familiar with saying thank you to the veterans in our lives with cards and ecards, but this year we wanted to share a great list of other thoughtful ways to thank a veteran.

In honor of those who have served (including many of our very own American Greetings associates!), we’d like to offer a few suggestions on ways to thank a veteran:

1. At home:

Autumn Care Package Ideas for Veterans Day

Autumn Care Package Inspiration Board from Veterans United.

Sending care packages overseas to those actively serving is a well known way to thank a veteran, but what about sending a little bit of the fall season to a service member on active duty? We loved the suggestions that Veterans United put together on the spouse section of their website. It’s easy to pick up extra items during your regular shopping trip and package them at home in your spare time. Additionally, you can order free shipping boxes for military addresses from the US Post Office.

2. At work:

Veterans Day 2014 poster

2014 Veterans Day poster from The Office of Veterans Affairs

Did you know that the Office of Veteran’s Affairs has created a poster every year since 1978 to recognize Veterans Day? Show your pride and gratitude in the office by printing out copies and hanging them around your workplace in honor of those who served. Download the 2014 poster and (view the full archives!) here.

3. With the kids or grandkids:

Veterans Day Bracelet Craft

Veterans Day Bracelet Craft from No Time For Flashcards

Honoring veterans can be a family affair–and these bracelets from No Time For Flashcards are a great way to get kids involved! Besides making one to thank a veteran, they can also make one to wear themselves, serving as a daily reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve in our armed forces.

4. Out in the community:

Volunteer with Veterans Affairs

Your local Veterans Affairs is always in need of volunteers, drivers and donations.

Your local Veterans Affairs office regularly needs volunteers, drivers, and donations. Visit their website to find a location near you and download a list of what they need the most.

5. Exercise your right to vote:

Vote!Veterans Day comes just after November elections, but use the holiday as a reminder to always do your civic duty and vote. Our service men and women have volunteered for service to protect our freedom–this small act means so much!

What great ways have you found to thank a veteran?

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Easy, Adorable Memorial Day Party Ideas

Easy, Adorable Memorial Day Party Ideas

Looking for an easy, fun way to make your Memorial Day party really stand out? We spent some time perusing some fantastic blogs and came across some great Memorial Day party ideas to make any patriotic soirre sparkle!

1. Patriotic Parfaits by Delish.com

2. American flag Mason jars by Maison dePax

3. Spray painted lawn stars by Sunset.com

4. Memorial Day cookie platter by The Bearfoot Baker

5. Fruit ice drink by Mom.me

6. Firework balloon chandelier by Colorado Balloons

7. Patriotic bandana tablecloth by My Insanity

8. Homemade pallet flag by A Lovely Place to Land

We also thought that all of these ideas would be great to reuse for the 4th of July or Labor Day! If you make one great new item for each occasion, you’ll have a fun, patriotic collection of party goods in no time!

We hope that you and your family and friends have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday!

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Patriot Day – Remembering 9/11/2001

Remembering 9/11... Patriot Day from StayInspired365

That September morning of 9/11 is forever etched in our memories–every detail of where we were when we heard the news.  Here at world headquarters, we’ve asked a few of our fellow associates if they would share their stories in honor of Patriot Day …

“I remember where I was on 9-ll like it was yesterday.  When we, in Editorial, heard the news, we were all shocked and many of us wept together.  At that time, we had a TV in one of the conference rooms, so we turned on CNN and left it on all day.   Whenever any of us had time to break from our work, we would go in to see whatever updates they had to offer and we’d share the news with each other.  Because we’re creative people, our emotions ran high.  And since we had to be at work during this horrific time, we were glad to have each other to turn to for consolation. “

 “My mother called me, in tears, to ask if I was watching the news. I hadn’t been. Said she didn’t know what was happening, but it scared her to think what it might be. I turned on the Today show moments before the second plane struck. She was right to feel afraid.”

“I was working in eastern Pennsylvania at the time, and a co-worker came into my office and asked if I had seen the fire or explosion in New York. I went into her office and we watched the news coverage online. I had two brothers working in the Washington, DC area so I was a bit unnerved with the news of the Pentagon.  I went to be with my mother and sister and we got word that both my brothers were okay. One of my brothers could see the Pentagon burning from his office window and his office had evacuated immediately. We watched the news coverage the rest of the day, and even now I still find it just as unbelievable to fathom the sheer magnitude of what took place that day.”

“I was at home  watching a video with my daughter, and when it ended the TV was on one of the news channels. I saw smoke pouring out of one of the towers and I think they didn’t know yet what had happened. I thought it was just on fire. But as I watched, the second tower was hit, and then they both ultimately fell. I remember standing there with my hands over my mouth, getting a knot in my stomach, watching them fall and knowing there had to still be people inside. I was shocked and horrified. I watched the news for a little while and finally had to get out of the house. I just couldn’t bear it. All the planes were grounded for a couple of days. I lived in the flight pattern from Cleveland Hopkins Airport, so I was used to a lot of air traffic. It was eerily quiet during those days. On the first day when they allowed the planes back up, I remember I was at a red light when a plane flew overhead. All the drivers in the surrounding cars (including me) were just staring up at the sky as it went over.”

What do you remember about the morning of the attacks on 9/11? Share your stories with us.

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Happy Flag Day

 Happy Flag Day from stayinspired365.com

Today is Flag Day – a day to commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States which occurred in 1777. Although recognized in various states earlier, it was officially established as a national holiday in 1949. And if you happen to be in Quincy, Massachusetts on this day, you will witness one of the longest-running parades celebrating this patriotic event.

Be sure to display your flag and get your friends into the red, white & blue spirit by sharing this fun America Furever Talking Card from American Greetings!

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Happy Memorial Day!

 

Happy Memorial Day from StayInspired365.com

While each of us celebrates this three-day weekend in our own favorite way—whether it’s with a backyard barbeque, a family camping trip, or taking time to plant your flowers—we all know there’s a much greater purpose for Memorial Day than simply kicking off the summer season. Today is the day for us as a nation to pause and remember the men and women of the military who lost their lives serving our country.

Originally introduced in 1868 as “Decoration Day”, its purpose was to honor fallen Civil War soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers.  Renamed Memorial Day after World War I, it was then expanded to pay respect to all Americans who died in military service.  It’s believed the last Monday in May was chosen because that’s when flowers are in bloom all over the country.  President Nixon finally made Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971.

Today, there are countless Memorial Day events nationwide that range from lively parades to traditional ceremonies, like laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. But even if you’re celebrating in your own backyard, you can still pay respect to our nation’s heroes in simple yet meaningful ways:

  •  Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm: “As we contemplate the comforts and blessings of our lives and the well-being of our nation, I ask you to pause just for a moment to remember those who gave their lives to protect the values that give meaning to our lives.” – President Bill Clinton, May 31, 1999
  •  Decorate a Veteran’s Grave: During Memorial Day Weekend, several thousand bouquets are placed at the Nations War Memorials in Washington, D.C.   You can sponsor a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation.
  •  Show Your Sympathy:  Memorial Day can be a difficult time for those who have lost someone in the military.  Whether you reach out by phone, email or an  ecard, your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

It’s important to remember that the brave men and women we’re commemorating today died not only for our freedom as a nation, but for each one of us personally to live a safe and fulfilling life. To those of you currently serving in the military, we honor you with the utmost respect and gratitude and wish you a happy and peaceful Memorial Day.

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Thanks to Our Armed Forces

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Tomorrow, we celebrate Armed Forces Day–a day to honor the men and women who serve in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard as well as our National Guard and Reserves. This day, which is part of a week-long tribute, was first established in 1949 and stemmed from the unification of our military forces under the Department of Defense. Special dedications, parades, military exhibits, themed motorcycle rides and educational activities for children are some of the ways Armed Forces Day is acknowledged, so you’ll want to check out the local listings to see what’s happening near you. But, most important, be sure to say thanks to those who so bravely and unselfishly protect our freedom!

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Patriot Day

Today is Patriot Day, a time to remember the tragic events of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This solemn day honors not only the nearly 3,000 innocent victims who lost their lives, but also those who heroically rushed to help. In New York City, the National September 11 Memorial opened in 2011, and is an inspirational tribute with the names of all those who died inscribed into bronze panels.   Twin reflecting pools edge the Memorial and are perpetually replenished by the world’s largest man-made waterfalls.  A museum is also currently under development, which will not only pay homage to the victims, but also educate visitors and help build hope for a future without such devastation.

Our country’s efforts to remember 9/11 reach beyond the Memorial.  In 2002, it was declared that flags across the country should be flown at half-mast every September 11th, and Americans are encouraged to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 am EDT.  Other ceremonies of remembrance are held nationwide, such as candlelight vigils and prayer services.  School children mark the day by learning about the tragedy, and participating in projects, essays, and memorial events.  Declared a “National Day of Service and Remembrance” in 2009, Americans are urged to reach out to others wherever possible with community service.  By helping others, we succeed in not only paying tribute to the victims and responders, but also in building a stronger, closer nation.

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Celebrate the 4th of July

4th of July: American Flag

Get ready for the 4th of July! There’s so much to celebrate about our great country, and the 4th of July is the holiday to do just that! The first rule of the day is to show your patriotic pride, so be sure to wear red, white, and blue clothing. It’s easy to improvise by adding colorful bandanas, jewelry and hair accessories, or you can even paint your nails red, white and blue!  It’s also great to share the meaning of the day with others by displaying an American flag. Old Glory is always an inspiring sight, not just on the 4th, but all year long.

This year’s holiday falls in the middle of the week, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less special. Simply consider keeping your festivities closer to home, and you can also share 4th of July Printable Cards with everyone you’ll be spending the day with, or send patriotic ecards to people you might not get to visit. Many cities have parades, which are fun for kids and grown-ups alike: check your community’s website for details. Afterwards, nothing beats a backyard cookout with family and friends. Keep the theme of the day going  (and keep the kids busy) by making fast, yet festive 4th of July decorations. Use craft sticks to make stars, ribbons to decorate flowerpots, and more!  And of course, don’t forget to serve good ol’ American food like burgers and hotdogs, but add in some patriotic treats like a yummy Fruit Flag.

The 4th of July just wouldn’t be complete without fireworks, would it? Again, check with your community to find out the times and locations, and then plan on extending your backyard celebration. If you’ll be watching from a park, pack up those lawn chairs and any leftovers—or better yet, make some Patriotic Popcorn to bring along. Often, band concerts accompany the show, but if not, bring along some instruments—or just your voice—and start a Fourth of July sing-a-long that will make those fireworks even more spectacular, and provide a perfect ending to our nation’s birthday celebration!

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Memorial Day Celebration!

Memorial Day Celebration

Summer is so close we can taste it! The unofficial start to summer is Memorial Day weekend – which of course means it’s time for sunglasses, flip-flops, grilling, and all kind of picnics and parties. Our favorite parts of Memorial Day weekend and summer in general, is coming together with friends and family to spend time with people we love. What are some of your plans for this special weekend?

In the mood board: American is Family digital postcard from American Greetings

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