Did you know that May is National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM)? In 1999, Congress selected the month of May due to its high concentration of military-related celebrations: Loyalty Day (May 1st), Victory in Europe Day (May 8th), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (the Friday before Mother’s Day), Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May), and Memorial Day (the last Monday in May). NMAM’s aim is to “reflect upon the sacrifices made by members of the United States Armed Forces and to show appreciation for such service.”
It’s the perfect opportunity to express our gratitude and to salute those who are currently serving or have served in the military. How can you show your appreciation this month? Here are five ways to honor our veterans, active duty members, and their families.
1.) Send a care package.
Contact Operation Gratitude to find out how you can lift the spirits of new recruits, U.S. service members deployed overseas, and America’s wounded heroes. Packages contain snacks, toiletries, magazines, games, DVDs, and personal letters of appreciation.
2.) Volunteer for veterans.
Reach out to DAV Volunteers for Veterans, a nonprofit charity to learn how you and your family members can offer your services to our nation’s heroes. DAV is looking for volunteers to drive veterans to their VA hospital appointments, run shopping errands, deliver meals, perform general housekeeping tasks, and maintain veterans’ lawns and gardens.
3.) Honor your loved ones’ achievements.
Do you have friends or family members who have served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Air National Guard? Celebrate their dedication to our nation this month with our licensed military shadow box frames featuring the official seals of each U.S. Military branch. Or, create an instant family keepsake that will preserve generations of service awards for years to come in military medal display case. Or, help a military family commemorate a loved one on Memorial Day with a shadow box for flag.
National Military Appreciation Month is an ideal time to salute our American heroes and thank them for their sacrifices. Be sure to show your gratitude to our servicemen and servicewomen this month and every month of the year!
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4.) Organize a school event.
Whether you’re a college student or high school student, talk to your dean or principal about creating on-campus or community fundraisers for programs like the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a charitable organization that supports veterans who’ve incurred physical or mental injuries while serving in the military. The WWP offers a student ambassador program with a range of fundraising ideas for all ages, from implementing bake sale campaigns in elementary schools to hosting dance marathons and campus carnivals as part of sororities and fraternities’ annual philanthropic events. You could also reach out to your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post to request guest speakers for your school or to find out how students can donate food or clothing to veterans in need.
5.) Help a military spouse.
Consider the many ways your and your family can help lend a hand to the spouse of a deployed service member. Offer to mow their lawn, babysit, paint a fence, rake leaves, make home repairs, and make freezable meals. Taking on a few simple chores can really help lighten the load of a parent struggling to do the work of two people.