In the United States, Nov. 11 is celebrated annually as a day to honor all veterans of the United States Armed Forces. This date goes back more than 100 years, to the Armistice that formally ended hostilities in World War I, which was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Originally known as Armistice Day, Nov. 11 was celebrated informally from 1919 on, and was declared a federal holiday in 1938, as a day to honor those who served in World War I. In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day, to expand those honored to all veterans, not just World War I vets.

Since 1954 Nov. 11 has been celebrated as Veterans Day — a federal holiday, a bank holiday, and in many cases, also a state holiday. This means that all non-essential federal government offices are closed, from schools to post offices, as are banks and state offices where applicable. The Department of Veterans Affairs refers to Veterans Day as “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” Several of our nation’s allies celebrate veterans on Nov. 11 also, but the holiday is called Remembrance Day in Canada, Australia, and Great Britain.

How to honor a veteran.

Honoring our veterans is important — their sacrifice is what protects our nation’s freedom, which includes our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which in your case often means pursuing a great vacation). So how can you honor a veteran this Veterans Day? For starters, you can thank them for their service, which is easy enough to do. If you’d like to take it to the next level, though, you may want to consider gifting your unused credits through the Charitable Giving Program.

With Charitable Giving you can donate your credits to Vacations for Vets, a program run by In Honor of Our Troops (IHOOT) Foundation Inc. IHOOT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose focus is helping veterans reconnect with their families after a lengthy overseas deployment. If you have unused credits to give, IHOOT will pass them along to a veteran and their family, to be used to take an amazing vacation to relax and reconnect with their family after a long separation.

How to gift your credits.

To gift your unused credits to a veteran and their family, simply call the Vacation Planning Center at 800-453-0103 for assistance. Here are a couple of important guidelines to keep in mind when gifting credits to Vacations for Vets:

  • Your credits must be gifted at least 30 days prior to their expiration date.
  • There is no minimum amount required.
  • Credits deposited with RCI are not eligible for gifting.
  • Once your credits have been gifted, it is considered a final transaction.

Stories from vets.

Many owners like you have already gifted credits to Vacations for Vets, and many veterans and their families have benefited from a WorldMark vacation to reconnect with their families. Here are what a few of those veterans had to say:

“So thankful to Vacations for Vets. My family stayed with WorldMark by Wyndham in Orlando, and we had a blast. The resort was awesome, great location close to all the attractions. The kids barely wanted to leave the resort because of all the activity there. We were able to reconnect with family and friends, laugh, grill on the patio, and take a few trips down the lazy river at the resort pool. As a disabled vet and a parent of two special needs kids, travel is hard but this trip has empowered us to travel more with the kids. We are so grateful.” — Shawntea Thomas, Specialist 4, United States Army

“I'm so honored that my family had the pleasure of staying seven nights at WorldMark Reunion. My family consists of three generations, so it is hard to find a place to accommodate everybody. Well, IHOOT and Vacations for Vets helped make that happen. My parents, who find it hard to get around nowadays, can't stop talking about how much they enjoyed themselves. My 5-year-old didn't want to leave. Thank you IHOOT and WorldMark.” — Thelma Brown, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

“We cannot thank IHOOT and WorldMark by Wyndham enough for this great program. We went to San Diego and stayed at the WorldMark resort. We visited the mission, old town, Pacific Beach, Torrey Pines, took a boat cruise of the harbor, Coronado Island, and several other things. Thank you so much again for this great program.” — Patty Hegarty, Sergeant Major, United States Army

“Our family is tremendously grateful for the time we were able to share together at the accommodations provided by Vacations for Vets. We are a military family of six and WorldMark by Wyndham made it possible for our large family to stay in a beautiful and spacious condo. Our eldest daughter is in the Navy, my husband is retired Air Force, and I'm still currently serving in the Air Force so it can get quite difficult to get our family all together. We would like to thank WorldMark by Wyndham and IHOOT greatly for making our family vacation so special and for helping us create memories as a family that will last a lifetime.” — Nina Ward, Technical Sergeant, United States Air Force

“We had the most amazing vacation at WorldMark Reunion in Florida thanks to WorldMark by Wyndham and Vacations for Vets and I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much! We enjoyed the many pools and the incredible water park as well as mini-golf at the resort. We also ventured out to Legoland and had a blast. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without your organization, and the generosity of all who are involved. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so very much!” — Steven Jones, Corporal, United States Army

“I want to thank IHOOT for the best week that my family and I were able to spend at WorldMark Reunion. We were blown away from the moment we pulled up to the gates at the resort. The grounds were stunning and the amenities that were accessible at the resort were all we needed to enjoy a wonderful week. We also got to visit Walt Disney World which is something my daughters may not have been able to experience at such a young age without IHOOT. The time we spent with family and friends on this trip is something we won't forget. Thank you for such a memorable week.” — Brian Trefry, Sergeant, United States Army

These are just a few of the countless stories of how gifted credits have helped provide an opportunity for a veteran to reconnect with their family at a WorldMark resort. For more information on gifting your credits to Vacations for Vets, visit the Charitable Giving page on your owner website. Thanks to all veterans and their families for the sacrifices made in the name of freedom!

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