Veterans Day is a federal holiday celebrated on November 11 each year to honor military veterans. It’s different from Memorial Day, as this holiday honors military members who have died. Don’t expect your mail on this day, be prepared to observe two minutes of silence and expect to see flags flown at half-mast.

Whether you have the day off or want to plan something fun for the evening, here are some great outdoor activities to try on Veterans Day. This year, the federal holiday falls on a Friday, so there are more ways to celebrate!

Host a Barbecue or Dinner

It may not be warm and sunny like in the summer, but you can still host a successful barbecue at home if the weather cooperates. It’s one of the last times to grill some classics like burgers, hot dogs and chicken before the temperatures really drop! If it happens to be windy, you can always pull the grill or smoker into the garage.

While you can celebrate with family and friends, consider extending the invite to neighbors who are or were in the military. They will appreciate the gesture! If you have older military members in your neighborhood, consider bringing them a plate instead.

Decorate Graves

Go to a local cemetery in your community and decorate the graves of deceased veterans with flags or flowers. You’ll want to check with the cemetery in advance to make sure this is okay. They might already have plans to decorate the graves with flags and wreaths and you can offer to help!

Attend a Veterans Day Parade

Many communities host Veterans Day parades to show their appreciation for military vets. Find a parade in your local community and celebrate with local military veterans, service members and their families. Some communities take things a step further by hosting a festival or dinner to bring out more people in the community.

Attend a Military Demonstration

Military demonstrations provide an opportunity for people to see U.S. military capabilities in action. These events are typically held at war memorials, which there are plenty to see on the East Coast! For example, the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs maintains three war memorials across the state - the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

Visit Monuments in Washington DC

Whether you live in Staten Island or New Jersey, you’re about three-and-a-half hours from Capitol Hill. It’s a hike - but it’s still a lot closer than most people have to travel! If you don’t want to make a weekend trip out of DC, you can visit monuments in your own area. From Wars of America in Newark to the War Memorial in Trenton, there are plenty of monuments to visit.

No matter what you choose to do on Veterans Day, be sure to take a moment and thank military members for their service. These people, along with their families, have sacrificed so much for our country, it’s important to recognize them! And if you need food catered, delivered, or you simply want to dine out, La Rosa Chicken and Grill will be open!

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