2017-2018 National Hospital Ambassador
Holiday Season is Nearly Here – Ways to Celebrate with Veterans in Medical Facilities
I hope you all enjoyed celebrating and honoring our veterans over the weekend!
The holiday season is nearly here! Thanksgiving is next week and it’s not too late to do something for veterans in our VA clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities. Here are several ways to let them know you’re thinking of them this Thanksgiving:
- Deliver a card and a special treat. Visit the VFW Auxiliary Pinterest page “All About Fall/Thanksgiving” for crafts, cards and treats that are easy to make and sure to bring a smile to a veterans face.
- Volunteer to help serve the Thanksgiving meal at a medical facility. Many medical facilities host meals for their residents/patients. Offer to help serve food, clear trays, etc. You could host a game after dessert!
- Add a Thanksgiving twist to old favorites and host Thanksgiving Bingo, Turkey Bowling (with paper cups, not frozen turkeys!), Pumpkin Ring Toss, Turkey Trivia, Pin the Feather on the Turkey and more! Go to the VFW Auxiliary Pinterest page “All About Fall/Thanksgiving” to see examples of these games and more!
- Make a simple Thanksgiving craft they can enjoy in their room. Go to the VFW Auxiliary Pinterest page “All About Fall/Thanksgiving” for ideas such as Toilet Paper Roll Turkeys, Gratitude Trees, Apple Stamping, Candy Corn Turkey and Fox Leafs.
When the turkey has all been eaten and there’s not a crumb of pie in sight, it will be time to turn our attention to December holidays and events. In December there is a very somber event, one of patriotism, and several festive occasions you can plan to spend with veterans to both remember and to celebrate.
- December 7th – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: In total, 2,403 Americans lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor; 1,177 were from the USS Arizona. The remaining WWII veterans around the country remember that day. Plan a visit and help them get through it by holding his or her hand in comfort as he or she recalls that experience. As you know, as we get older there are certain painful memories that come back to us. The WWII veterans lost many buddies that day; they vividly remember what it felt like being unexpectedly attacked by a foreign nation. The Korean War veterans will also have a keen memory of that day. Many of them were old enough to have a clear memory of the shock and fear we felt as a nation.
- December 15th – On this day in 1791, the Bill of Rights became part of our American Constitution. Since it is near Christmas, ask an activities or facility director if you can conduct a fun “Bill of Rights” Christmas tree project in the facility. You’ll need:
- A table size or small Christmas tree
- White or clear plastic Christmas bulbs (you don’t want glass to break in a resident’s or patient’s hand!)
- Red, white, and blue paint
- Paint brushes
- Red, white and blue permanent markers
Ask each resident/patient to choose the “Right” that most inspires them (i.e. Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press; Right to Bear Arms; Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures, etc.) to create their own Christmas bulb masterpiece to hang on the tree. Though the idea is based around the first ten amendments of the Constitution, you are welcome to modify the tree to include amendments 11-27.
December is a festive time of year, with Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah), Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve and other multicultural holidays taking place. In the December Hospital blog, I’ll share several ways you can help veterans of all faiths celebrate this season with a special activity or token of remembrance.
I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving with friends and family!