Veterans Day is coming up on Monday, Nov. 11, and I am a proud military brat. I like to think that I have had a great upbringing that taught me to appreciate what is our men and women do in the military. So I started to think about this, in what ways can you show your appreciation for our veterans.

1. Thank them - Anytime you see a man or uniform, take the time to give them a pat on the back, shake their hand or just say simply thanks to what they do. Every time I hear from active duty, reservists or those that are retired, they love this simple gesture. The world needs more good vibes, so why not start with a simple dose of gratitude.

2. Pay it Forward - Veterans usually are very good about displaying whether they were in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. If you notice while you're in the drive-thru that the car behind you has stickers that indicate they were in service, why not tell the cashier you want to pay for their meal.  I have seen this happen before and it usually becomes contagious. You may not see the person's reaction, but I bet the love it.

3. Donate - There are so many veterans organizations in our area, so take the time and donate. Right now you can donate to the Show Me Honor Flight at participating Casey's and Freddy's Frozen Custard. It costs $350 to send a Vet to Washington D.C. to see their respective memorials, but every dollar helps send them.

4. Fly The Flag - I recall after 9/11 seeing everyone wearing or flying an American flag. Why not take the time to do so and show your patriotism and appreciation. Again, it's simple, but make sure the flag is not tattered or torn, is well lit and is proudly displayed.

5. Volunteer - The VFW, AmVets and many other Veterans groups and organizations are always looking for more help. You may not be eligible to join those groups if you didn't serve, but you can join the Auxiliary or just ask if you can help out with events such as picnics or placing flags at grave sites on Memorial Day. I have done that for the last couple of years with my family and it is a rewarding experience.

6. Go to the parade - There are many Veteran's Day parades in America, but only one in West Central Missouri that I know of. You can show your appreciation on Monday, Nov. 11 as the parade goes from the Smith-Cotton Jr. High onto Ohio Street starting at 3:30 p.m. Wear your favorite red, white and blue shirt and show your love for the vets by cheering them on.

7. Interview a Vet - In high school, my history teacher had us interview World War II vets. I had the chance to interview my Uncle Jim Lafata, and it was very rewarding to hear about his experiences, both the good and the bad. He passed on a few years ago and I was able to catch his history at a good time. It is important to document the history, no matter what war era they served in.

These are seven great ways to help show you appreciate a vet, and I for one hope you take up my challenge and show your appreciation in some way, shape or form. These men and women served our country to keep it free and we should thank them for the over two hundred plus years of freedom in America. Happy Veterans Day!

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