militaryAs a 100% accredited online college that has met the needs of military service members, veterans and their families for more than 60 years, Grantham University makes a concerted effort to respect and honor our country's heroes on a daily basis.

These next few days represent a very important and exciting time for active-duty and retired military veterans of the United States.

Here are five discussion points to keep in mind throughout the week as we prepare for a time of military history, celebration and appreciation.

1. Marine Corps Birthday (Saturday)

Saturday will mark the 237th birthday of the Marine Corps. The motto of the Corps, "Semper Fidelis," is Latin for "always faithful." This reminds Marines to always remain faithful to their country, each other and the mission at hand.

You may have recently heard about our "Show Us Your Ink" tattoo contest that we're currently hosting exclusively through Facebook. One of our submissions portrayed an awesome photo that would make Marines proud. Check it out here. If you have a tattoo and have not submitted your photo for the contest, sign up now! The deadline is noon CST on Saturday.

Re-visit the GU blog tomorrow (Friday) morning for a Marine Corps birthday tribute post.

2. Veterans Day (Sunday)

Veterans Day will take place on Sunday, one day after the Marines' birthday. We would like to take a moment to thank the brave men and women who have served this great country and protected the freedom we enjoy every day.

The country officially recognized Veterans Day on June 1, 1954, when legislation was enacted to honor American veterans of all wars. We are forever grateful for your service.

Re-visit the GU blog on Sunday for a Veterans Day tribute post.

3. The Presidential Race

Most military members I spoke with this week were keeping a close eye on the presidential race. All five military branches (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard) continued to report to the same commander-in-chief on Wednesday morning, when Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States.

As America exercised its right to vote on Tuesday, we made it known in the GU online community to remember the brave men and women who sacrifice their lives so we could vote – and more importantly, vote peacefully – on Election Day.

4. Veteran Unemployment Rate Dropping

This is another military topic that has been discussed quite often lately. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that the overall veteran unemployment rate dropped to 6.3% in October. This rate has continued to drop for the past 18 months. The last time the veteran unemployment rate fell below 6% was in November 2008.

This is positive trending, but there's still work to be done.

The unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans (10%) is higher than the overall veteran unemployment rate (6.3%). There are still nearly 690,000 veterans looking for work.

Veterans seeking jobs may consider going to school to start or continue their college education. They should also practice communicating their skills to potential employers. If military members develop a plan to clearly translate their military skills and apply them to the civilian workforce, it would put them in a favorable position to be considered. We've written about it before: Military members make awesome employees. It's just a matter of effectively communicating those skills.

5. Saying "Thank You"

If you're out and about this weekend, remember to say "Thank You" to military veterans, whether you see them out at a restaurant or make a special visit to a veteran you know personally. The freedom we enjoy every day would not be remotely possible without their sacrifice.

Thank you, service members and veterans.