Honoring Our Veterans

Alanna SobelNPF Blog

Our nation’s history is woven together by chronicles of heroism, allegiance, and grit, perhaps none greater than the stories of our armed forces. Each year on Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the incredible men and women – both past and present – who answered the call of duty. What’s more is the day allows us an opportunity to give thanks to the families who rally together to support and encourage our veterans through the demands of military life.

We cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery.”  – George Washington from Headquarters Valley Forge February 16, 1778

Valley Forge arch

The National Park Service has the honor and responsibility of protecting the hallowed ground and special places that stand in tribute to the work and lives of our nation’s veterans. Some of the sites date back to the French and Indian War, such as Pennsylvania’s Fort Necessity National Battlefield, and span the country’s generations to present day, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the final resting place in national cemeteries for those lost in our most recent wars.

This November 11, join us in thanking our veterans. Thank them for their valor and service. Thank them by taking them to enjoy the fee-free day, dedicated in their honor, in some of the most remarkable places this great land has to offer. You can:    

Check out the National Park Service’s sites of remembrance and explore national parks that preserve the places where veterans served our country.

Pay tribute to the strength and sacrifice of disabled veterans at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, dedicated on October 5, 2014, at National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.). If you know disabled veterans, let them know about the free annual national parks pass for disabled veterans.

Crowd gathers on sunny day for the Dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

Remember veterans’ valiant efforts as you view the special Avenue of Flags at Andersonville National Historic Site (Georgia).

Avenue of Flags at Andersonville National Historic Site (Georgia).

Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the American Revolution with living historians during a special two-day event at Fort Stanwix National Monument (New York).

Living historians reenact the American Revolution with guns during a special two-day event at Fort Stanwix National Monument in New York

Discover how Camp Sherman played an important role during World War I with Remembering Camp Sherman, a special exhibit at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (Ohio).

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Mound City Group Visitor Center building

Visit a Veterans Day Encampment at Kings Mountain National Military Park (South Carolina).

Historic interpreters in Confederate soldier uniforms at Veterans Day Encampment at Kings Mountain National Military Park (South Carolina).

Uncover stories of local veterans with a special exhibit at Nicodemus National Historic Site (Kansas).

Nicodemus National Historic Site, Visitors pose with sign, "Nicodemus National Historic Site", "Nicodemus Township Hall 1939" sign on stone building

Tune in and watch the Concert for Valor, honoring the courage and sacrifice of America’s veterans and their families, live from National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.).

Share the beauty, history, culture, and healing nature of our national parks with a veteran. You can find a park near you using the National Park Foundation’s online tool. Share your photos and memories with our national park community online by tagging @GoParks and @NatlParkService on Twitter or Instagram, and posting to the National Park Foundation’s Facebook wall.

General Washington couldn’t have phrased it better: the “incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery” must never cease to inspire us. This Veterans Day, be sure to give thanks for the selflessness and greatness of the countless veterans who give their time, and lives, in service of our nation.  

Photo credits: National Park Service

Last updated November 6, 2014.

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