There was always an event at school for this.
When I was a kid, my mother's best friend's husband was in the army (WW II) and I remember when he came hone unscathed. There had been lots of worrying. We had blackout curtains on the windows and there were drills in school to prepare for bombing.
The closest I ever came to being a veteran was Army ROTC in my freshman year at MIT (it was required). (This LJ pic). I remember marching in my uniform and learning about and even firing an M1 rifle, plus studying military history (early morning class with occasional loights out to see some flim - tought to not fall asleep). And polishing my shoes and brass buttons in preparation for instpection, I got out in my sophmore year because of eyesight.
I didn't want to be drafted and that influenced my choice of grad school and then I got a job as a computer programmer which enabled me to get a 2-A deferment because the computer industry was considered a critical industry.
My ex brother-in-law was in the army and went to Vietnam. He was gung ho when he enlisted, but by then he was really upset that we were there messing up the country and was happy to come home. I remember hwo rleived we were when he finallyb got home.
On my block in Cambridge there lived an honored veteran (now deceased), Clifton Merriman. I chatted with him a few times. The Cambridge Main Post Office is named after him - he was Postmaster there, and in fact the first black Postmaser in the US. There is a sign on my street honoring him.