Thank you Veterans, On This Day and Everyday

Last updated: November 11, 2021, at 11:56 a.m. PT

Originally published: November 10, 2021, at 3:50 p.m. PT

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The Y has a long and storied history of supporting veterans, active-duty military, and their families. Throughout history, we have been proudly served by those who serve our country in the military and their families.

During the civil war, the Y mobilized to provide books and care for wounded soldiers which prompted President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to recognize the effort by writing to the Y: “I sincerely hope your plan may be as successful, as it is just and generous in conception.”

Our commitment carried forward into the 1900s. When segregation and discrimination denied opportunity and access to Black communities and servicemen who had committed to protecting our country, the Y and its partners built a network of 25 Ys in 23 cities in 1910. The new facilities allowed the Y to bypass racist laws by providing safe, clean facilities with dorm rooms and kitchens for Black veterans and travelers.


During World War I, recognizing the mental health toll of war, the Y supported military in the US and France with spaces for rest, entertainment, and relaxation. This work ramped up during World War II, when the Y and its partners helped establish the United Service Organizations, which is known today as the USO.

Today, the Y continues its commitment to support and lift military families with child care, healthy living resources, and other enrichment activities, often partnering with families while a caregiver serves our country away from home. 

At the Y, veterans and retired military are always welcome with a $0 join fee (coupon code: VAJOIN).

All you need to do is present your Retired Military ID, Veterans DD214, or Veterans ID Card from the Department of Veteran Affairs and visit your local branch where we can help get you signed up.

Active military and families can also enjoy the benefits of the Y. Through a partnership with the Department of Defense, qualifying active duty military and their families can sign up for a free Y membership. All it takes is a simple application and three easy steps.

On this day, and every day, the Y honors all veterans, active military, and their families, and we say thank you for their incredible bravery, hard work and sacrifice for our country.

Please join us in honoring the veterans in our communities and across our nation. To our incredible Y staff who are veterans and who have dedicated their commitment to country beyond military service by bringing their talents, passions, and values to serve our community from our hearts, we say thank you. Because of your sacrifice, we can enjoy freedom and democracy which are not guaranteed. Although we honor you with a special day, please know that you are appreciated every day of the year. Leadership takes many forms and honorably serving our country is one of them.

Category: Holidays