It doesn’t matter what you believe or what your political views are, our veterans and active men and women in the service deserve our collective thanks.

1. Say Thank You
If you spot a veteran, an active duty service member or a reservist, just stop, say hello and thank them. That’s all you need to do.

2. Write a Letter (or Email!)
Many military organizations offer pen-pal opportunities. Many active duty service members are without regular contact from their loved ones, and sending letters is a great way to show your support.

3. Learn
Take some time to do some research on how wars, conflicts and the military in general has shaped our nation. Educate yourself!

4. Volunteer
Offer up your time to local veterans’ organizations in your community. For school kids, this is a great way to learn the invaluable lesson about giving back. Organize a food drive or help at an American Legion event.

5. Place Flowers
Whether its freshly picked flowers from your garden or a bouquet bought at a store, take some time and place a flower or two on graves and memorials of those who served in the military.

6. Investigate Your Family Tree
Everyone’s family has a history, and more often than not, we all have family members that served at one time. Do some research online, ask family members or go through old scrapbooks. Learn about your family’s unique contribution to our country.

7. Hoist a Flag
Place an American Flag in your window or post a flag on your porch. These little things show that you support what our military has done and continues to do for us.

8. Send a Package
Investigate your local military support groups and ask if you can send a care package. Sometimes the reminder of home – chocolate chip cookies, CDs, warm socks and toilet paper – can make all the difference.

9. Attend a Parade
Veterans’ Day is in November of each year and Memorial Day, in May. For many communities, these holidays are a time to gather and watch a parade honoring our veterans and active members. Take your kids, hold a flag and cheer for those who protect us.

10. Lower Your Flags on Memorial Day
Until noon each Memorial Day, everyone can lower their flags half-mast to honor the service and dedication of those who gave their lives on our behalf.

11. Donate
If you’re financially able, send a donation to the United Service Organization (USO), American Legion, the Wounded Warrior Project or any reputable non-profit that you believe in that supports veterans.

12. Reach Out
The number of homeless veterans is on the rise. Volunteer your time and services to shelters that provide comfort and support to our veterans.

Another great way to honor a veteran and help them get off the streets is getting your hands dirty. For example, the Syracuse University Chapter of Habitat for Humanity is raising money to build a home for a veteran and their family. Check with your local chapter to see how you can get involved.