Too often I take for granted how lucky I am. Among other things, I’m lucky to have been born in this country, which gave me opportunities and freedoms that many people don’t enjoy. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are a reminder that what I too often take for granted is only ours because of the many brave people who gave their lives to defend our country.
We can honor the people who made the ultimate sacrifice by remembering them, appreciating our freedoms and by supporting our veterans and active military personnel.
My fabulous freelance web developer, Bart Hook, who is a former Navy man, told me about The Welcome Home Blog. Just watching a few minutes of the happy videos of returning soldiers is an emotional reminder of military family sacrifices.
I wanted to do something to support our troops, so I did some research, and I thought I’d share what I found and some things I already knew. Here are some things we can do to say thank you:
- Seek out opportunities to hire veterans. Unemployment for veterans is higher than average. Yet, veterans are disciplined, hard working and loyal. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with several young people who joined the military. They were amazing employees.
- Say, “thank you for your service” when you see people in uniform.
- Pay for lunch, a drink or dessert when you see a military person in a restaurant.
- Write a letter or have your kid draw a picture or write a card that will be meaningful to an active duty service member. Letters matter. My dad wrote letters to people during the Gulf War, and I remember it meant enough to a soldier that he brought his family to our house to meet us when he was back from his deployment. Send an email message of support. Say thanks through Facebook US Military thank you page.
- Volunteer or donate to a nonprofit that supports veterans. Here are some resources: USO, Fisher House, VFW, Wounded Warrior Project, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
- Donate miles for wounded service members and their families.
- Donate clothes through Vietnam Veterans of America or Purple Heart Pickup (Purple Heart only for NY, NJ, PA, CT, VA, MD, DE).
- Visit patients in a VA hospital or drop off books, movies or something special. You can find a local hospital here. There is an online volunteer signup form.
- Support our troops by supporting families who have a member deployed. The families are often forgotten. Thank them for their sacrifices. Offer to help them around the house. Babysit. Let them know you recognize their sacrifice and ask how you can help.
- If you have a business consider a discount or special offer for veterans.
- Provide pet foster care for deployed soldiers.
- Let Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other holidays serve as reminders but certainly not the only days we think about and thank our veterans.
- Don’t forget the sacrifices others have made and don’t take our freedoms for granted.
Thank you former and current military personnel.