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Veterans Day was approaching, and I learned that my boss, who I really enjoy working for, served in the military for nearly 20 years. As a group, we love our boss because he is a dedicated, true professional. As a result, we decided we should do something special for him to say thank you on Veterans Day. He is truly a symbol for Veterans Day in that he always gives back and works hard to meet the unique needs of each person who works for him. I have never met someone that wanted to support me in succeeding more.
So, I did some research. When is Veterans Day celebrated? When is Veterans Day an important day of remembrance? I also took some time to look into the best way to say thank you and celebrate this special person on this very important day.
Veterans Day, to be honest with you has not been something I spent much time considering before now. I did not have anyone in my family that served, though I certainly appreciate the sacrifices that those that do serve have long provided us. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this day and then find the right way to say thank you. I wanted to see what type of curated box of items or special mementos I could offer to someone that gave so much and still gives so much today.
I talked it over with some of the other employees, and we hatched a plan. We decided we would do our best to make this day count.
Why Do We Observe Veterans Day?
Noting the importance of this day, I wanted to really understand as much as I could about it, including how it came to be and why it is important. I couldn’t very well just go out and buy some Veterans Day gift bags and assume that was good enough. So, I did some research online about "Why do we observe Veterans Day? And "Why Is Veterans Day on November 11th.”
I learned a few interesting things. For example, it is a day meant to commemorate all those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Memorial Day, on the other hand, which is observed in May, focuses on those who have died in line with service to the country. Veterans Day is meant to be a day of thanking, appreciating, and recognizing the sacrifices of those who had to give up so much. It was first started in 1919 as the first anniversary after the 1918 armistice that occurred on November 11th, 1918. That agreement led to the end of World War I.
After gathering this information, I spent some time learning about some local heroes in our area and the work they did to help protect the country and support the military in general. Getting this information was really the first step. Now, I needed to get together with the others to plan a special day.
I decided to create a Google spreadsheet to share with the other employees who wanted to participate and do their part to give back. It was a great plan to be creative together, chime in a wide range of ideas, and support each other in creating a memorable experience. We wanted to do it because our boss was such an incredible person.
Veterans Day Swag and Merchandise
- Flag Display Case: A case for displaying the American flag, possibly from their time in service, is a thoughtful gift.
- Military Challenge Coins: These coins have a long-standing tradition in the military and make a great keepsake.
- Personalized Dog Tags: Custom dog tags with a personal message or service information can be a meaningful gift.
- Veterans Day Apparel: T-shirts, hats, or sweatshirts with Veterans Day-themed designs or slogans.
- Books on Military History: A well-regarded book on military history or a military memoir can be an educational and engaging gift.
- Military-Themed Artwork: Artwork or prints that represent their branch of the military or their time in service.
- Decanter Set: A high-quality decanter set for their favorite spirit, possibly engraved with their name or a thank you message.
- Service Ring or Jewelry: Rings or other jewelry pieces mentioning their branch and time of service.
- Personal Care Items: High-quality grooming or personal care items that provide a little luxury.
- Outdoor Equipment: If they enjoy the outdoors, consider gear like a good-quality camping chair, fishing equipment, or hiking accessories.
Here’s the situation, though. I was working hard to get everything just right, but our boss found out anyway. Of course, he knew. With everyone asking questions and hinting at what was going on, no amount of hiding would work.
As we all chatted in the Google document about the best Veterans Day gifts and the type of Veterans Day gifts we could all chip in for, we had no idea that, as the boss of the company, he was the super admin on all of the documents and spreadsheets – including this one! As we were searching for last-minute Veteran’s Day gifts and sharing our notes and ideas on what to buy, little did we know that he could see everything and could monitor what was going on.
Veterans Day Gift Ideas
- Military Watch: A rugged, military-style watch that's practical and stylish.
- Pocket Compass: A vintage-style pocket compass could symbolize their journey and service.
- Personalized Photo Frame: A picture frame engraved with a special message for them to display a cherished photo from their service days.
- Medal Display Case: A case for them to proudly display any medals or awards they received during their service.
- Military Branch Coffee Mug: A mug representing their branch of the military is a gift they can use daily.
- Veteran Patch or Pin: A patch or pin that represents their service can be added to a jacket or bag.
- Custom Military Throw Blanket: A comfortable throw blanket embroidered with their name and rank.
- Leather Journal: A high-quality leather journal can provide a place for them to jot down memories or thoughts.
- Tactical Gear: If they enjoy tactical gear, consider a high-quality tactical backpack or a multi-tool.
- Patriotic Puzzles or Games: A puzzle or board game with a patriotic theme can provide entertainment and honor their service.
As we worked to create a Veterans Day celebration for our boss and thought we were planning it behind his back, we each contributed some great ideas to the spreadsheet. At one point, our boss, posing as someone else, entered a few Veterans Day gift ideas, even suggesting that we do more than just honor our boss but also find others in the company that had served as well. It was an admirable idea, of course, but we wanted to focus solely on our boss.
We did look into some bulk Veterans Day gifts and came up with a few plans that would allow us to thank everyone in the office for the work they did. We built some pretty amazing curated boxes to help us to do so. We were so proud of ourselves and the work we were doing!
Veterans Day Gifts for Employees
- Custom Challenge Coins: A company-branded challenge coin can serve as a token of appreciation for their service.
- Military Branch Apparel: T-shirts, caps, or jackets representing their branch of the military, possibly with your company logo as well.
- Engraved Pen: A high-quality pen engraved with their name and a thank-you message.
- Commemorative Plaque: A plaque that commemorates their service and thanks them for their contributions to your company.
- Book on Leadership: A highly-rated book on military leadership can provide valuable insights and show appreciation for their background.
- Patriotic Desk Accessories: A flag-themed mouse pad or a desk organizer can add a patriotic touch to their workspace.
- Gift Cards: A gift card for a local restaurant, an online retailer, or a preferred store.
- Coffee Mug: A military-themed coffee mug with your company logo.
- Fitness Equipment: If they are fitness-oriented, consider items like a quality yoga mat, resistance bands, or a hydration bottle.
- Company-branded Items: High-quality, company-branded items like a backpack, water bottle, or keychain can show your appreciation and promote company pride.
Finding Veterans Day gifts for Marines, which he was, seemed to be challenging at first. We had no idea where to even get started. I spent some time searching for Veterans Day gifts for employees of all types and then worked with others to gather as much information as I could about each one of the veterans in our company. I had no idea so many people had worked this hard.
I did manage to find some inexpensive Veterans Day gifts that were affordable for our group to split the costs for but still meaningful and special. I was very confident that we were going to impress each person that would be coming to the event.
Facts About Veterans Day
The planning was pretty much set. We created some great visuals for the event, like 10 facts about Veterans Day on a poster, and wrote out the difference between Armistice Day vs Veterans Day. We also gathered information and a fact about Veterans Day about each of the people that we were honoring this day, including our boss.
It was not easy to find fun facts about Veterans Day about our local heroes, but it was well worth the effort. We created a presentation, including providing insight into the poppy symbolism. We did our homework and found answers to questions like "Is Veterans Day a bank holiday” and “How are you supposed to thank a veteran?”
- Origins of Veterans Day: Veterans Day originally marked the end of World War I and was called Armistice Day. The armistice that ended the war was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
- Nationwide Recognition: Veterans Day became a national holiday in the United States in 1938.
- Change to Veterans Day: It was renamed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to honor all veterans, not just those who served in World War I.
- Day of Observance: Unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who died while in service, Veterans Day recognizes all who have served in the U.S. military, living and deceased.
- Celebration Date: The date was briefly changed to the fourth Monday in October in 1971 due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. However, it was returned to November 11th in 1978 because of the historical significance of the date.
- Worldwide Observance: Veterans Day is not just celebrated in the United States. It's also observed in other countries, sometimes under different names. For instance, it's known as Remembrance Day in Canada and the United Kingdom.
- US Veteran Statistics: As of 2021, there are approximately 19 million veterans in the U.S., according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Official Spellings: The U.S. government does not use an apostrophe when spelling Veterans Day, even though some people believe it should be spelled "Veteran's Day" or "Veterans' Day".
- Moment of Silence: At 11:00 a.m. on Veterans Day, a color guard ceremony is typically held at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, and it's customary to observe a moment of silence.
- Parades and Events: Many cities across the United States hold parades and other celebrations to honor their local veterans. These events often include speeches, ceremonial laying of wreaths, and other activities to show gratitude to veterans.
Veteran Day Celebration Ideas
- Parades and Ceremonies: Participate in or organize a local parade or ceremony to honor the veterans in your community. These events can include speeches, the laying of wreaths, or moments of silence.
- Veterans Breakfast or Luncheon: Host a breakfast or lunch for veterans in your community or organization. This not only shows appreciation but also provides an opportunity for veterans to share their stories.
- Community Service: Organize a community service project dedicated to improving local veterans' facilities or providing services for veterans in need.
- Educational Events: Coordinate a school event where students can learn about Veterans Day, the military, and the importance of service. Invite local veterans to speak and share their experiences.
- Letter-Writing Campaign: Encourage members of your community or organization to write letters of appreciation to veterans. These can be distributed at local veterans' hospitals, and nursing homes, or sent overseas to active duty troops.
After the planning took place, the setup happened, and then the time came. We were so happy to be able to do something so wonderful for our boss. He never said anything about knowing about the event, though. Instead, we went on through the day focused on celebrating what we had learned about this day and about the people who gave back so much.
It wasn’t until about a month later that I noticed that he was listed as the super admin on the document. I knew then that he had once again transformed something special about himself into a way to give back to others.