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.
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.”
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.
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.