Regardless of who is occupying the top power positions in our government, I think most of us can agree that we owe a great deal to that citizen who sacrifices time, family, friends, sanity, safety, and risk their lives to serve our nation. Veterans are often far too overlooked by a government that asks them to put so much on the line for what are often questionable interests. One thing I am learning in this moment of drastically changing political living is that we have to take care of each other more than ever.
That being said, giving a veteran a free coffee on Veterans Day certainly won’t make up for all that they may have lost and gone through in their service; but, it’s something.
With Veterans Day, especially if you are a shop with recognizable regulars or near any military base, you could start with asking your customers for pictures of the veterans they know and love so that you can post tributes to those brave people in anticipation of the day honoring them. This will act as a reminder to the entire community and will be an accurate recognition that doesn’t need to slip into the political sphere.
For Veteran’s Day, you can decorate with tributes to the different branches of our military, or old posters like Uncle Sam and Rosie the Riveter (not quite veteran honoring there, but those women were vital for a moment when only men could serve). You could decorate patriotically; you could allow your employees to do so or to honor a branch of the military with their dress, i.e. camouflage.
You can make homages online, honoring the stories of veterans known to your staff, you personally, or gathering stories from your customer base, posting pictures when possible. “We raise our mugs to all the troops,” or something like that could be used to keep the holiday focused on both the people it honors and the brand you’re promoting.
You can advertise online, with posters and print ads and by word of mouth whatever special you decide to offer for Veteran’s Day. “We proudly serve all those who have proudly served;” and you can provide a free drink of choice, or a general discount, or whatever you prefer. You could plan ahead and change the names of menu items to honor the military branches, the country, and service in general.
You could take this opportunity to offer a long-term benefit to armed service members if you like; many businesses offer a standard 10-20% discount for military personnel.
You could take the opportunity to make a political statement if you must, remembering to take into account the potential consequences of doing so. I believe that sticking to the diplomacy like I’ve used above would be your best bet; but, of course, I’m a bit biased.