Spotlight On Veterans

Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day for many, is only weeks away and schools across much of North America and Europe are preparing for the festivities. Some, such as Stanford, host special celebrations to remember fallen heroes. [1] Dartmouth and many others plan a full week of veteran-themed activities. [2] No matter what your campus has in store for the week of November 11th, it’s sure to leave a positive impact on the veteran community.

From the traditional to the uncommon, here are some great Veterans Day event ideas you can use to give back to your student and alumni vets.

Honoring Distinguished Veterans

Chances are you have already invited one or more of your outstanding veteran alumni to be a guest of honor at this year’s event. Not only do these veterans deserve the praise, but they also make great guest speakers. Many have valuable insight that comes from overcoming obstacles.

After five years of tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, Patrick Hennessey, a British war veteran, writes, “…I “…I’d grown up a lot and learned some pretty hard and important truths along the way, lessons about myself and about other people, lessons that applied as much at home as they did in combat.” [3]

Preserving History

At these events, veterans both young and old will have a chance to share their experiences. Make sure that their stories aren’t lost with time. Help record history this Veterans Day by transcribing their experiences with projects like the Veterans History Project in the U.S. or The Memory Project in Canada  – ongoing initiatives to preserve veterans’ war stories. [4 and 5]

Support your Veteran Businesses

During your Veterans Day events, allot time to help veterans’ businesses. Websites dedicated to veteran owned-businesses can help you find veteran goods and services in your area. Try or [6 and 7]

On-campus Veteran Support

Since the 9/11 GI Bill was passed in the United States, the number of veterans in higher education has increased. This bill and other veteran scholarships have helped get veterans back to school, but the road to a degree isn’t always easy. [8]

Student veterans are generally older than the average student and are often juggling full-time jobs, families, or service-related disabilities on top of a full load of classes. These students could benefit from on-campus veteran support. Whether it’s help with academics, filling out required documentation to keep them in school, or simply a place to relate to fellow vets, give back by making sure your campus offers them the necessary resources.

John F. Kennedy said on Veterans Day long ago that, “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” As events are planned to give thanks to our national heroes this Veterans Day, hopefully words of thanks can be translated into acts of gratitude both on and off campus.

Sources & Additional Reading

[1] Stanford Community Honors Fallen Alumni on Veterans Day,

[2] Dartmouth – Veterans Events,

[3] 10 Army Lessons All Men Can Learn From,

[4] Veterans History Project

[5] The Memory Project



[8] Community Colleges Rarely Graduate the Veterans They Recruit,

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