War doesn’t end off the battlefield. It’s a sad truth, but when someone goes to war they are there for a long time, despite their physical location. As a small thank you, civilians should do their best to help veterans adjust to life at home. There is a lot you can do.
To start, sometimes a thank you is enough. Even regular folk appreciate it when their hard work is recognized and appreciated. Imagine being the person whose daily job is to defend the American people. A thank you is small but it shows a lot.
Being patient is another way to be helpful to returning soldiers. You may not know what happened over there, and you may not understand their reaction, but be patient. Readjustment can take a long time, and it probably won’t be easy. Nevertheless, we owe a lot to these guys and a little patience goes a very long way.
With a quick bit of Internet research, you can find local (and national) businesses, which make conscious efforts to help/hire veterans, for example The Dog Tag Bakery. Launching soon, this Washington DC Bakery is going to do more then bake bread and pastries. The Dog Tag Bakery by philanthropist Connie Milstein and Father Rick Curry of Georgetown University will be operated by veterans and is to be used as a training program to help vets readjust to civilian life and give them the skills they need to make them stand out in a competitive job market.
There are also plenty of charities devoted solely to vets and their families. The Wounded Warrior Project is a popular one, as are Support our Troops, and The Disabled American Veterans Organization, but there are others out there doing great work, such as The Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, which helps out those with a family member who has not come back home.
The most important thing however, may be to be supportive. Remember who these men and women are and what they gave in order for you to have what you have.