Taking time each year to celebrate the service and sacrifices of veterans and active duty service members is not only the right thing to do but also ensures that military members and their families know that we all appreciate them. Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a reminder to show our appreciation whenever we can to Iowa’s more than 180,000 veterans.
Simple acts of kindness like saying “Thank you for your service” go a long way, but sometimes we need to do more. Veterans Day provides ample opportunity to show appreciation in multiple ways, such as attending events, visiting Iowa’s Veterans Home, and donating time, money, or goods to an organization that supports Iowa’s vets and their families.
Here are a few ways you can acknowledge Veterans Day this year in Iowa.
Attend an Iowa Veterans Day Event
You can find various events across Iowa that recognize, celebrate, and show appreciation to the veterans who call Iowa home. Here are a few great Veterans Day events happening across Iowa on Nov. 11.
Veterans Day Ceremony, Iowa Veterans Cemetery, Adel, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The Iowa Veterans Cemetery is the first nationally funded and state-owned veterans cemetery in the state. Each year they hold a Veterans Day Ceremony open to the public to honor Iowa’s Veterans. The event lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. Attendees can enjoy breakfast hosted by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 403 at the Veterans Reception Center in nearby Van Meter (910 Main St.).
Veterans Day Celebration, Waverly Area Veterans Post, Waverly, 11 a.m.
Head to the Waverly Area Veterans Post (WAVP) by 10:30 a.m. on Veterans Day to enjoy live music from the WSR Band until the program honoring area vets begins at 11 a.m. WAVP also invites you for lunch after the program. They will be serving BBQ pork, homemade chips, and pasta salad downstairs.
The Greatest Generation, Jazz Concert, Adler Theatre, Davenport, 7:30 p.m.
The United States Army Field Band’s Jazz Ambassadors will perform a free concert for those interested in attending. “The Greatest Generation” was composed as a tribute to World War II veterans and showcases Big Band jazz music from that era. Call the Adler Theatre at (563) 326-8555 for tickets or pick some up at the Leisure Travel Office in Building 333 on the Rock Island Arsenal.
Veterans Day Pancake Breakfast, Metro Harley-Davidson, Cedar Rapids, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The family-owned Metro Harley-Davidson Suzuki Can-Am is holding a free pancake breakfast for all military members and their families. Members of Iowa’s Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) will be serving up pancakes, eggs, and sausage to attendees. Non-military members of the public are welcome to join the fun with a free-will donation.
Celebrating Women in the Military, Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville, 11 a.m.
This year, ILCC’s Veterans Day Program at the Janice K. Lund Performing Arts Center focuses on celebrating women in the military. The event, open to the public, features keynote speaker Colonel Sonya L. Morrison, the first female Wing Commander of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, who has more than 500 hours of flight time in combat operations. The program also includes a presentation about Veterans Day history, music from the Iowa Lakes Choir, Iowa Lakes Band, and Iowa Lakes Handbell Ensemble. After the program, attendees can enjoy lunch with Veterans in The Max dining hall from 12 to 12:30 p.m.
Visit Veterans at Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown
The Iowa Veterans Home is one of the largest homes for veterans in the US and Iowa’s only state veterans home. They provide care to more than 550 Iowa veterans at a time. You can bring a smile to a vet’s face by simply engaging in friendly conversation, but bringing small gifts and snacks is great too. Some like to talk about their time in the service, so you might be in for some incredible stories. Iowa Veterans Home is always seeking donations and welcomes those who want to volunteer, so you can show your tanks to Iowa vets throughout the year.
Visit Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston honors and depicts the military experience of Iowa veterans during wars and as they provide service in Iowa. They collect, preserve, and exhibit items that show Iowa’s military past and present. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Veterans Day. Their exhibits are grouped by war and include items and displays from both World Wars, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Donate to Organizations that Support Iowa’s Vets
If you are unable to attend an Iowa Veterans Day event or donate your time with a visit to the Iowa Veterans Home, consider donating money or goods to nonprofit organizations that provide services to veterans, active duty service members, and their families. GreatNonprofits.org lists more than a few hundred Iowa veterans organizations. Here are a few where your donations can help.
- American Legion
- American Veterans (AMVETS)
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
- Family Alliance for Veterans of America (FAVA)
- Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
- Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
by Jessica Lee
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