More than 560,000 veterans call Michigan home. Here’s how to celebrate them this week—and then every week.
MICHIGAN—Showing our appreciation for men and women who have served or are serving in the military is of the utmost importance, regardless of the day or month. However, our heroes get a special day to ensure we don’t forget their sacrifices, and that’s Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
For some, finding the perfect way to acknowledge Veterans Day can be difficult. You know you want to celebrate and give thanks, but you don’t know how. Fortunately, Michigan has some great Veterans Day events open to the public. If you cannot attend, you can always try to spend time with veterans in other ways or donate your time and/or money to organizations that support Michigan’s vets.
Here are a few ways you can acknowledge Veterans Day across Michigan.
Attend a Michigan Veterans Day Event
Michigan has an abundance of events to honor and celebrate veterans and service members currently enlisted. Here are a few great Veterans Day events happening across Michigan on Nov. 11.
Lansing Community College Veterans Day Ceremony, Lansing, 11 a.m.
Each year, the public is invited to attend LCC’s Veterans Day Ceremony at its Veterans Memorial, located on the Main Campus in the Fred Abood Rotunda in the Health and Human Services Building. This year, the ceremony, sponsored by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), honors three veterans and will last about 40 minutes. A small luncheon follows.
Veterans Day Concert Featuring the Stranded Hobos, Battle Creek VA Medical Center
If you live in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area, get your dancing shoes on and take a veteran you love to the Battle Creek VA Medical Center for a special Veterans Day concert from 6 to 8 p.m. Musicians from southwestern Michigan, including three veterans, make up The Stranded Hobos, a rock/folk/Americana band that plays both original and cover tunes. Make sure to buy their new CD; profits go to the Wounded Warrior Project, a national veteran charity organization.
Kalamazoo County Veterans Day Ceremony, Rose Park, Kalamazoo, 2 p.m.
Kalamazoo County’s Veterans Day Ceremony is one of the larger events honoring Michigan’s vets. The Rotary Club of Kalamazoo-Sunrise and the Kalamazoo County Veterans Service Office sponsor the event at the Robert L. Cook Veterans Memorial Plaza at Rose Park. Zaneta Adams, Director of the MVAA, is this year’s guest speaker. Attendees will also enjoy music from the Kalamazoo Pipe Band, Prof. Scott Thornburg, and Ms. Grace Kalafut.
Veterans Day Parade, Grand Rapids, 6 p.m.
Grand Rapids’ annual Veterans Day Parade starts on Division Street under the I-196 overpass and proceeds south to Fulton Street, where the route turns to head toward Veterans Memorial Park. The parade is full of marching bands and a chorus. The city lights up the Blue Bridge with green lights to honor veterans as part of Operation Green Light for Veterans—shining a light of hope on veterans. After the parade, attendees can attend the Ceremony of Remembrance and enjoy live music at Veterans Memorial Park.
Visit a VA Medical Center in Michigan
Some veterans and active duty military members are stuck in the hospital on Veterans Day, so they cannot participate in parades, ceremonies, and other opportunities for recognition. Unfortunately, some do not have family that regularly visits, if at all. Spend Veterans Day—and other days when you can make it happen—at a local VA Medical Center. It’s great to bring small gifts, snacks, puzzle books, etc., but simply showing up to chat is often more than enough to spark a smile.
Some who served like to talk about their experiences and have fascinating stories; others simply enjoy some company. Regardless, taking time out of your life to visit veterans stuck in the hospital goes a long way in demonstrating your appreciation. You can head to one of five VA Medical Centers in Michigan:
- LTC Charles S. Kettles VA Medical Center, Ann Arbor
- Battle Creek VA Medical Center, Battle Creek
- John D. Dingell VAMC, Detroit
- Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center, Iron Mountain
- Aleda E. Lutz VAMC, Saginaw
Donate to Organizations that Support Michigan Veterans
GreatNonprofits.org lists more than 350 nonprofit and charitable organizations that support Michigan’s veterans. Many are American Legion and VFW posts, which have been around for decades. They understand the needs of veterans and their families and how to get goods and services to them.
Here is some more information about these two historic veterans’ organizations.
The American Legion has been supporting veterans, active service members, and their families in Michigan and throughout the US for a century. They provide money, donated goods, disaster relief, and more. You can help Michiganders by donating to the Michigan American Legion Foundation to support their outreach efforts and scholarship programs.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
The VFW is among the oldest veteran organizations in the US. They have been helping war vets since 1899, originally fighting for wounded soldiers to get the medical care they needed after fighting in a war. Today, the VFW in Michigan and throughout the nation seeks to create a community for war veterans and returning active duty military. And, they make it a priority to help surviving spouses and children after the loss of a service member during combat. The VFW has more than a dozen programs and donations help fund some of the important work they do for veterans and their families.