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Celebrating Our Heroes: The Imperative of Honoring U.S. Military Veterans in the Workplace

Veterans Day - Honoring all who have served
published: September 19, 2023

In the bustling corridors of your offices and the dynamic threads of your virtual teams, there's a group of unsung heroes whose dedication, sacrifice, and values subtly but profoundly influence your corporate culture—your U.S. military veterans. Their presence in your ranks is a testament to their adaptability, resilience, and unparalleled commitment. As a company striving for excellence and integrity, it's crucial to pause, recognize, and celebrate these exemplary individuals not only for their past service to the nation but for the invaluable contributions they make daily to your organization. Honoring your veteran colleagues isn't just a nod to their military past; it's an acknowledgment of the rich tapestry of experiences and insights they weave into our organizational fabric.

As Veterans Day approaches, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the sacrifices made by those who've served in our armed forces. Across parades, moments of silence, and heartfelt thank yous, there's an overarching theme of gratitude. However, truly honoring our veterans requires a deeper understanding, an effort to learn more about their journeys, experiences, and stories. To merely thank them is just the beginning; to understand them is to genuinely appreciate the depths of their sacrifice.

At Geiger, we want to help you better understand various customs and traditions that make up the military veteran culture. By understanding these influences, you can create more thoughtful programs and events to recognize your military veterans. While understanding and empathizing with our veterans is of utmost importance, there's also value in tangible expressions of our appreciation. After all, words, while deeply meaningful, can sometimes be fleeting. As a society that cherishes acts of giving, we can extend our gratitude further by offering promotional products that not only serve as a reminder of our thankfulness but also as a symbol of our commitment to honoring their service, every day.


Learning About Our Military Veterans this Veterans Day

The Challenge Coin

One powerful tradition that stands out are the practices surrounding challenge coins Let's dig a little deeper to understand the profound significance of these symbols, shedding light on the indelible marks they leave on those who've served.

History & Origins
The exact origins of the challenge coin are somewhat debated, but one of the most popular stories dates back to World War I. An American pilot was shot down and captured by the Germans. He managed to escape, only to be detained by French forces, who suspected him of being a spy. The pilot had lost all identification except for a coin he wore around his neck—a medallion stamped with his squadron's insignia. Recognizing the unit's emblem, the French spared his life and celebrated him instead. Upon his return, it became a tradition among his squadron to always carry their medallions, or "challenge coins."

The Challenge
The coin's name is derived from the "challenges" it has sparked. A holder can challenge fellow members of the unit to produce their coins. If someone cannot display their coin, traditionally, they owe the challenger a drink. Conversely, if everyone in the group presents their coin, the challenger has to buy a round. While the specifics of the challenge can vary by unit or organization, the foundational concept remains: always carry your coin to prove your membership and to pay homage to shared experiences.

Connecting to Veterans
For veterans, challenge coins often hold deep sentimental value. They're not just tokens or collector's items—they're emblematic of shared experiences, camaraderie, and the trials and triumphs faced alongside their comrades. Understanding the story behind each coin gives insight into pivotal moments in a veteran's service journey. Recognizing its significance provides a deeper understanding and appreciation of the values and experiences our veterans bring into your workplace.


Buying American-made products holds special significance for veterans. At the heart of this choice lies the intricate tapestry of patriotism, economic support, and the welfare of fellow citizens. When veterans don the uniform, they pledge to defend their homeland and its values. Purchasing goods made in the U.S. becomes an extension of this pledge, a civilian act of patriotism that reinforces their commitment to the nation's prosperity. Here are just a few suggested items that are certified Made in America to be used during your Veterans Day celebrations and events.


Stars, Stripes, and Sacrifice: The Deep Significance of the American Flag to Veterans

The American flag—those 13 stripes and 50 stars—is more than just a patriotic emblem. It embodies freedom, resilience, and unity. While this symbol is cherished by many, its importance is profoundly felt by a particular group: our veterans. To them, the flag is more than just fabric; it's an embodiment of the nation they've sworn to defend, often with their lives.

The American Flag Through the Eyes of a Veteran
For those who've served, the significance of the flag runs deep. Many veterans see the flag as a symbol of sacrifice.Veterans have stood in the front lines, some witnessing the ultimate sacrifice of their comrades. The flag serves as a testament to the bravery and sacrifices made in the name of freedom. For service members, it also represents unity and the collective purpose they serve, binding together individuals from all walks of life.Finally, it is also a rememberance of an oath give; the solemn oath to defend the Constitution against all threats, taken by every service member, is symbolically tied to the flag. It's a daily reminder of the vow made and the responsibilities it entails.

Unraveling the Mystery of the "Battle Flag"
When we delve into military traditions, the term "battle flag" emerges. Typically, this refers to the flag carried by military units during combat. This can be the national flag or a unit-specific one. In the throes of battle, amidst the chaos and confusion, this flag stands tall, serving as a beacon and a symbol of cohesion for the troops.

Decoding the "Backwards" Flag on Military Uniforms
A point of curiosity—and sometimes confusion—is the orientation of the flag patch on U.S. military uniforms. To the untrained eye, it seems "backwards," but there's rich symbolism at play:
1. Marching Ahead: Positioned with the star field (or union) facing forward, the flag symbolizes forward movement, resonating with the idea of charging ahead and leading with strength.
2. Echoing History: Historically, the flag-bearer would carry the flag into battle, moving forward with the flag streaming behind due to the motion. This tradition finds its reflection in the flag's orientation on the uniform.
3. Always Advancing: The forward-facing flag patch serves as a powerful emblem of the U.S. military's resilience, progress, and commitment to always advance, never retreat.

soldier uniform with battle flag patch
An American soldier wearing the "backwards" battle flag on his camoflage uniform.
Veteran with flag and dog

For many military veterans, the call to serve extends far beyond the duration of their time in uniform. Steeped in a culture of duty, honor, and sacrifice, their commitment to giving back remains unwavering even after they've hung up their boots. This deep-seated sense of purpose doesn't dissolve; instead, it finds new avenues in civilian life.

A notable trend is their natural affinity towards causes that support their fellow veterans, a reflection of the camaraderie and bond shared during their service days. Their continuous effort to give back not only enriches our communities but also reminds us of the lifelong dedication and values that military service instills.

Recognizing this, there's an emerging and commendable trend in the corporate world: branded promotional items that resonate with the ethos of giving back. Such products not only serve as a token of appreciation but also contribute towards veteran causes, seamlessly blending the spirit of service with corporate responsibility. Here are several products that resonate with the sentiment of giving back to veterans.

Laptop backpack

WORK® Pro II Laptop Backpack
ITEM # 526985 01A

A portion of all proceeds is donated to Shelter to Soldier™, a non-profit organization that rescues dogs to train as service animals for veterans in need.

Basecamp tote bag

Basecamp® Mt. Carmel Tote Bag
ITEM # 523693 01A

1% of the purchase price of all Basecamp® items will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project®.

Dog frisbee

14 oz Perka® Salento Ceramic Tumbler
ITEM # 526986 01A

A portion of all proceeds is donated to Shelter to Soldier™, a non-profit organization that rescues dogs to train as service animals for veterans in need.

Olive green insulated tumbler

20 oz Patriot Tumbler
ITEM # 526984 3V9

Patriot Coolers proudly gives back to our veterans by donating a portion of all sales to Homes For Our Troops, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that builds custom accessible homes for severely wounded post 9/11 veterans.

Patriotic lunch cooler bag

Patriot Lunchbox Duo 15
ITEM # 526982 36I

Patriot Coolers proudly gives back to our veterans by donating a portion of all sales to Homes For Our Troops, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that builds custom accessible homes for severely wounded post 9/11 veterans.

Canvas tote bag

Patriot Cooler Tote 8 Gallon
ITEM # 526983 23A

Patriot Coolers proudly gives back to our veterans by donating a portion of all sales to Homes For Our Troops, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that builds custom accessible homes for severely wounded post 9/11 veterans.

Veteran saluting flag

Veterans Day provides us a moment to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifices of our military veterans. Their stories are rich with tradition, history, and symbols, as we recently explored through our discussions on challenge coins and the battle flag. Challenge coins, deeply entrenched in military culture, serve as tokens of recognition and camaraderie, symbolizing unit identity and shared experiences. The battle flag, on the other hand, stands tall as a beacon of hope, unity, and resilience, especially in the midst of combat. Incorporating these symbols and understanding their significance is crucial as we find ways to honor veterans in the workplace.

We've also explored the deep-seated patriotism veterans hold, from their service days to civilian life, highlighting the significance of buying American-made products. This act of preference is not just about economic support; it's an extension of their commitment to the nation, ensuring fellow servicemen and women find opportunities in local industries post-service.

Incorporating this spirit of patriotism and respect, businesses can amplify their Veterans Day celebrations. Geiger promotional products present an excellent avenue for this. Offering a range of branded merchandise and products, your company can enhance any planned event, ensuring that the holiday's spirit is truly captured while promoting unity and gratitude. Additionally, by opting for Geiger, organizations can underline the importance of buying American and giving back to Veteran charities, a value that deeply resonates with veterans.

This Veterans Day, let's embrace the depth of our military traditions, combining acknowledgment with a genuine understanding, and bring it all together with a touch of patriotic elegance through Geiger.

Contact your Geiger Sales Partner to create your Veteran’s Day strategy today. If you don't have one, click the button below and have one assigned to your business!

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