There are two days during the year which we acknowledge the duties and sacrifices of our military, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It goes without saying that we all have an opinion about the wars that have captivated our world and changed our lives, whether we personally know someone who has been in one or not. Memorial Day is a holiday which serves the purpose of remembering, both soldiers who have fallen or those still standing. Regardless of the opinions of war OR the knowledge of it, the men and women that serve in any military branch, deserve, at the very least, a salute. The numbers of soldiers suffering continue to skyrocket. CNN frequently reports the amount of soldiers suffering from a range of disabilities, from physical to mental. Documentaries about Vietnam War Veterans continue to air on many cable networks. Parents of soldiers who passed away in the line of duty speak about the memories of their children, spouses, and children of these soldiers as well.
A day off from work and a BBQ is a great yet let us not forget the purpose of this holiday.
There are many ways that an individual can show their support to those who have served. Here are just a few suggestions:
1) Volunteer at a VA Hospital. Soldiers recouperating from war benefit significantly from those who can offer a helping hand or words of encouragement. Many hospitals are short staffed and could use the extra help even if it is only once a week or month. Contact your local VA Hospital to fimd out the details.
2) Depending on the industry that you work in, perhaps adopting a soldier might be an option. Many schools participate in this initiative. If that is not an option, writing letters to veterans and/or soldiers, would also show gratitude and support. You can take these letters to the Veterans Hospital or contact your local military base to get more information on the protocol in this regard.
3) WWP (Wounded Warrior Project) is an organization dedicated to supporting soldiers who have been wounded and need additional support with transitioning back to a normal or healthy lifestyle. They offer a multitude of services. This organization takes donations and has opportunities to fundraise for the cause. Red Cross also offers similar services.
4) Many retired supporters as well as family members of soldiers choose to meet soldiers at international airports to greet them. A salute or a sincere “thank you” goes a long way. Many offer snacks and small gifts but if that is not possible a simple wave or hand shake is a great way to welcome them back.
5) Raise awareness. Speak to colleagues and people in your neighborhood to agree on a reasonable yet time friendly way to do something to show your support. Although a lot of our tax dollars go into the war and many soldiers die daily, it is not something that some individuals even discuss with others. War does not affect just one individual or their immediate family, it affects all of us. Wear a T shirt or hat to keep the conversations going. Knowledge is power.
In memory of all of the soldiers that serve this country, resting in peace or alive, I salute you. I appreciate your service and I hope this blog inspires a few to do the same!!