Beyond Veteran's Day - Recognize Your Military and Veteran Employees All Year Long

Beyond Veteran's Day - Recognize Your Military and Veteran Employees All Year Long

As an Army veteran and a civilian CEO, I can tell you firsthand that there is a lot of available information about the importance of recognizing veterans in your organization, especially on Veterans Day. While that’s a good place to start, it shouldn’t be where you stop.

Maybe you have military employee resource groups in place. Great! Perhaps you have a veteran leadership mentoring program. Fantastic! But to go the “extra mile,” sometimes you need to put in a personal touch or think outside the box.

Use these best practices to demonstrate the appreciation and support your company has for the men and women of the military community, year-round:


Learn the service branch of your veteran employees and recognize them on their respective military branch birthday. See below for a list of significant dates to use as a guide.

For example, in an ideal world, I’d want to know who all the Marine veterans were in my charge. On November 10th, I would personally send them each an email saying, “Thank you for your service, thank you for being a Marine, and thank you for what you bring to the company.”

If you’re worried that this approach might mean you could miss someone, then send a company-wide email instead: “Happy U.S. Marine Corps birthday to all the devil dogs in the organization. Thanks for your service. I’d love to hear, personally, what the Marine Corps birthday means to you.”


Know who the military spouses are in your company and recognize them on Military Spouse Appreciation Day (the Friday before Mother’s Day.)

I think most veterans would understand when I say that acknowledging my wife's service as a is more meaningful to me than being honored for my own. Military spouses are the men and women who support our warfighters from home, and they deserve just as much appreciation.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a great time to show support on an individual basis to people. In this case, you’ll want to do something more than an email.

You could gift the recipient a small gift card and handwritten note, thanking them for their service and sacrifice as a military spouse.

If you don’t know who the military spouses are, find out! Build a spouse question into your onboarding paperwork. Then, have your human resources department keep a census of veterans, active servicemembers, and military spouses.


Find out which of your employees have children serving overseas. Better yet, if their son or daughter is deployed to a combat zone, put a care package together from the company. Include a note that says, “Your mom [or dad] is an amazing teammate of ours. Thank you for what you’re doing to serve our country.”

Obviously, there are limitations to this suggestion, but if there is a way to do it, this is something that is really valuable to the recipient. If the challenge is that the organization is too large to keep track of everyone’s dependents, create a communication chain where your employees can let you know when one of their family members is deploying, whether that's a spouse or a child.

Encourage open communication so that the company can provide support and then be as flexible and generous as you can in the support you provide.


February 19, 2021 - Coast Guard Reserve Birthday

March - Month of the Military Caregiver

March 3, 2021 - Navy Reserve Birthday

March 5, 2021 - Seabee Birthday

April - Month of the Military Child

April 14, 2021 - Air Force Reserve Birthday

April 23, 2021 - Army Reserve Birthday

April 30, 2021 - National Military Brats Day

May - National Military Appreciation Month

May 7, 2021 - Military Spouse Appreciation Day

May 15, 2021 - Armed Forces Day

May 31, 2021 - Memorial Day

June 14, 2021 - Army Birthday

June 23, 2021 - Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday

August 4, 2021 - Coast Guard Birthday

August 7, 2021 - Purple Heart Day

August 29, 2021 - Marine Forces Reserve Birthday

September 11, 2021 - Patriot Day

September 17, 2021 - POW/MIA Recognition Day

September 18, 2021 - Air Force Birthday

October 13, 2021 - Navy Birthday

October 26, 2021 - National Day of the Deployed

November - Military Family Month

November 10, 2021 - Marine Corps Birthday

November 11, 2021 - Veterans Day

December 1, 2021 - Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary) Birthday

December 7, 2021 - Pearl Harbor Day

December 13, 2021 - National Guard Birthday

Tim Best is chief executive officer of Bradley-Morris & RecruitMilitary and a U.S. Army veteran.

This article originally appeared in Search & Employ magazine.

Love this content? Read more of Tim Best's leadership advice here.

By Tim Best


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