Today is Veterans Day. Although, I’ve never served in the military, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of all the sacrifices our brave soldiers have made to allow me and the hundreds of millions of people in the USA and abroad, to live the lives we live. I try to pay them back as often as possible, including either giving my upgrade away to soldiers or upgrading them next to me using my miles/points.

I wrote a tip about one of my experiences upgrading a soldier in 2012 and six years later, I got an anonymous comment (second from the last comment on this post) from that very soldier. It makes me cry every time I read it. Another comment that makes me cry is one that was left on Yahoo when they published my story about the time there was a fallen soldier on my flight. Yahoo has since removed all the comments so I’m glad I took a screenshot of it. I’ve included it in the body of this story: How A Delta Airline Worker Honors Fallen Military Members at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

I’ve been on two flights where we have escorted fallen soldiers home and they are very somber, emotional flights. My first one was on a Delta Air Lines Atlanta to Los Angeles flight and we didn’t find out there was a soldier onboard until forty minutes prior to landing. The captain announced it and when we landed, the plane was greeted by a water cannon salute. You can read that story here and/or watch the video on YouTube. The second time was on an American Airlines Honolulu to Los Angeles flight and the captain told us during boarding so we wouldn’t be alarmed if anyone saw a casket being loaded onto the plane. All the passengers’ happy Hawaii smiles quickly turned to tears as that puts things in perspective real quick. I don’t think I heard any passenger complain about anything for the entire five-hour flight.

So in honor of Veterans Day, today’s tip offers up 48 ways to honor veterans and military, including when you travel:

1. As, I mentioned above, upgrade a soldier to say thank you.

2. Pass your extra drink vouchers to a soldier.

3. JUST IN: U.S. Veterans to receive free National Park passes for life
According to the Los Angeles Times, starting today, “U.S. military Veterans and Gold Star Families may receive a lifetime America the Beautiful pass to national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, preserves and other federal lands.”

For the rest, my thanks to the Behavioral Health staff at the Spokane VA Medical Center for creating a list of 45 things you can do to honor a Veteran. Below are the first 15 and for the next 30, visit their website.

1. Attend a Veterans Day event.
2. Ask a Veteran about their time in the military, and really listen to the answer.
3. Hang a flag in your yard.
4. Ask an aging Veteran to share with you the song that most takes them back.
5. Visit the gravesite of a Veteran.
6. Visit a homebound Veteran in their home, talk with them, and thank them for their service.
7. Visit a homeless Veteran under a bridge and do the same.
8. Take a Veteran out to dinner. (EDITOR’S NOTE: During a pandemic it might be best just to bring them food or pay for a delivery service)
9. Take dinner in to a Veteran.
10. Tell someone (your family, a friend, a neighbor) about an experience you had serving a Veteran at the VA.
11. Take flowers to a Veterans memorial.
12. Write and send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
13. Ask a neighbor about their deployment.
14. Call a Veteran family member.
15. Thank a Veteran co-worker for their service.

Remember: Without these brave men and women protecting our beautiful country, we wouldn’t be able to live the lives we lead. We are forever indebted to them. Thank you to all members of our military and our Veterans.

Johnny Jet
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