Salute military veterans with your iPhone

Nov 10, 2010
Tech

In honor of Veterans Day, we’ve been thinking about a few ways us civvies can show our appreciation for members of the nation’s armed forces. Admission to any U.S. national park is free for veterans on November 11. There are 58 of them scattered all over the country, and many of the parks are huge. […]

In honor of Veterans Day, we’ve been thinking about a few ways us civvies can show our appreciation for members of the nation’s armed forces.

Admission to any U.S. national park is free for veterans on November 11. There are 58 of them scattered all over the country, and many of the parks are huge. So if you’re bringing along your iPhone anyway, you might want to pack a few apps for your trip.

Start with Maplets, a $2.99 download that’s crammed full of maps of all kinds. You can check out a list of maps the app contains, but the developer puts it at over 2,000, including many national parks like Yellowstone and Death Valley. Quite a few of the maps also support GPS tracking to help you navigate.

Equipped with the resources to get to a national park and avoiding getting lost while you’re there, you could also download National Parks Companion, a 99-cent app that organizes information for a lot of parks into a single app. Its best feature is information about attractions found in the parks and a quick rundown of any contact information you might need while you’re there. The app will quickly link you to any of the parks’ websites, which have a ton of information on them.

You can use Facebook and Twitter to show support for veterans (and help send two lucky vets to the Super Bowl) by logging onto the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s Facebook page and hitting the “Like” button. But you don’t need to be at a computer to do it — fire up Facebook on your iPhone and search IAVA for a quick connection to the page.

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Liking IAVA’s page gives you the option to allow access to the organization’s Facebook app for an online march supporting veterans. Taking part in the march donates your Facebook status to the organization, and you’ll get posts on your Facebook wall for Veterans Day supporting troops that you can also customize. A similar service is available for Twitter, and IAVA will send two vets to the Super Bowl from whichever state has the most marchers.

Another cool feature of IAVA’s Facebook app that you can use from your mobile device is the information about IAVA Veterans’ Day parades taking place in a few cities across the country. There are events in New York City, Washington D.C., Auburn, WA, and San Diego and San Fernando, CA, and you can sign-up to march in the parades from Facebook.

If you’d rather do something a little more substantial, there’s Give2theTroops.org, an organization that puts together care packages for troops serving overseas. You can link up to their Facebook page by searching for Give2thetroops, which contains information about the organization and events they put on.

Even better, you can use PayPal to make a donation to Give 2 the Troops, which makes it super easy to give something back this Veterans Day.

 

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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