As a proud veteran of the US Coast Guard, please take a moment in time to thank the men and women who serve this country – in the past, present, and even in the future.
Often confused with Memorial Day, a much more somber observance of those who died while in military service, Veterans Day started out as “Armistice Day” to honor military veterans. Unlike Memorial Day, which lands on the last Monday in May, Veterans Day is always celebrated on November 11th to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (Other countries call this Armistice Day or Remembrance Day).
It’s a minor holiday, often falling on a workday (like this year) and many opt to “trade” it for the day after Thanksgiving to make that holiday a long weekend. Sometimes, it just feels like an excuse to have paid time off.
So this year, and hopefully in the years going forward, take a moment to recognize those who have served, thank those who currently protect our country, and encourage our young people to consider serving their country.
In honor of Veterans Day, perhaps you can start your meetings today with a quick icebreaker question. Here are some ideas:
- Share the name and connection to a service member (dead or alive) and a story/memory about them.
- Share a memory of an interaction with a service member – they are all around us!
- If you could join a military service, which one would you pick and why?
- What are some of the traits/characteristics of a veteran?
- What’s your favorite movie with a veteran in it? (I could say “The Guard” with Kevin Kostner, but it wasn’t that good of a movie. How about the Perfect Storm? The storm sequences were shockingly well done!)
- Name a famous person who is/was a veteran.
Lastly, there is a lovely custom in Canada (and some observe it in the US, but not many) where EVERYONE observes two minutes of silence to remember our veterans. At precisely 11 am (the same exact day and time when the Armistice with Germany went into effect in 1918), everyone goes silent and bows their head to remember those who have served our country bravely.
On this day, at 11am, Joe and I listen to this song by Canadian Terry Kelly. I share it with you to encourage you to take a pittance of time to remember our veterans with your team:
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.