What It Means If You See A Home With A Green Porch Light

Green lights are common in holiday decorations from Halloween through Christmas, but the meaning behind these colored porch lights may be more than many people realize. Having a green light illuminate your porch is a way to honor and show support for United States veterans.

The Greenlight a Vet campaign was started by Walmart in 2015 and encourages Americans to replace their regular porch light for a green bulb to remind veterans that they are cared about and appreciated for their service. The campaign also brought awareness to groups that support and advocate for veterans, such as Blue Star Families, Team Rubicon, and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

According to the campaign, the color green was chosen because it is "the color of hope, renewal and well-being." Additionally, the campaign notes that "'Greenlight' is also a term commonly used to activate forward movement." By switching to a green porch light in November, you can honor those who have returned from the military on Veteran's Day.

Walmart's Greenlight a Vet Campaign

While many people choose November as a time to honor veterans, the Greenlight a Vet campaign encourages Americans to use a green porch light throughout the year. "The simple action of changing one light to green is intended to spark a national conversation regarding the recognition of veterans, and 'greenlight' them forward as valued members of our communities," the campaign states.

The Greenlight A Vet campaign is more than just about offering emotional support — it can motivate communities to hire vets as they shift toward civilian careers. Between 2011 and 2015, Walmart gave over $40 million to groups that offer support to veterans to help those returning from their service get access to education and job training. In 2013, Walmart started its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, which aimed to provide returning veterans with jobs.

Walmart hoped to hire 250,000 veterans and reached the goal in 2020. Now, the large retail company has employed over 520,000 veterans and military spouses. When the Greenlight a Vet campaign started, people were encouraged to post pictures of their green porch lights on social media to spread awareness. As of October 2023, #GreenlightAVet has over 20,000 posts on Instagram and 13,000 views on TikTok

Honoring veterans beyond green porch lights

It's unclear if Walmart's campaign is still actively ongoing since the website is no longer available, but the National Association of Counties started a similar project, Operation Green Light for Veterans, in 2022. This campaign encourages local governments to inspire residents and businesses to put up green lights between November 6 and November 12.

While putting up a green light is a beautiful way to remind veterans that they are appreciated, it is also a way to get people thinking about more tangible ways to help former military personnel. Donating to veterans groups and volunteering at centers are great ways to help those who have served.

Maureen Casey, the chief operating officer of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, explained to the Military Times how projects like Greenlight a Veteran can make a difference and start important discussions. "Our commitment is to identify ways we can continue to highlight these veterans," Casey said. "[W]hether it's as simple as green light bulbs, hiring a vet, being a mentor to a vet ... but having an opportunity for broader conversation."