Solved! What Does a Green Porch Light Mean?

Learn the reason your neighbors have swapped in a green porch light this month—and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas.

By Savannah Sher | Published Nov 10, 2021 9:44 AM

What does a green porch light mean?

Photo: walmart.com

Q: My new neighbors’ front porch light is green, rather than white or yellow. I know that a blue porch light signifies support for the police (and autism awareness), but a green light is new to me. Can you shed some light on this situation?

A: In November each year, you may notice some of your neighbors’ porch lights turning green. While it’s easy to assume that they’re getting a head start on their Christmas decorating, a green porch light actually has a significance that has nothing to do with the holiday season. Americans use green porch lights to show support for the U.S. military as part of an initiative called the Greenlight a Vet project. According to the campaign, “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.”

What does a green porch light mean?

Photo: homedepot.com

How did the tradition start?

In 2013, Walmart’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment initiative—which provides jobs to any honorably discharged U.S. veteran—created an ad campaign asking people to turn on a green porch light as a way to recognize and show appreciation for veterans in their community. They encouraged people to share their support on social media by taking a photo of their green light and sharing it with the hashtag #GreenlightAVet.

Why green?

Now that you understand the origin of the Greenlight a Vet project, you may still be wondering why the color green was chosen. Green is a color that is often associated with the military because of the green uniforms traditionally worn by troops, but there’s a more symbolic meaning as well. According to the Greenlight a Vet campaign, “Green is the color of hope, renewal and well-being.” They add that “‘Greenlight’ is also a term commonly used to activate forward movement.”

When should you shine a green porch light? 

While Veterans Day on November 11 is the most popular time of year to express support for America’s troops, the Greenlight a Vet campaign is designed to last all year long. Keep your green light up year-round to show your ongoing appreciation for our military. The practice isn’t exclusively for military veterans—anyone wanting to show their support can participate. While in November you can assume that a green porch light is part of the Greenlight a Vet campaign, in May, the gesture is also used to support Lyme disease awareness.

Where to buy green light bulbs: