How to Say Thank You – 8 Ways to Support Military Appreciation Month
While any time is a good time to thank military members for their service, May is Military Appreciation Month and a great time to recognize those who took the oath to serve and protect our country.
Looking for more than words to say thank you to service members and veterans? Here are a few ideas.
Acts of Service
Buy a meal. If you see a service member in uniform or recognize someone is a veteran while dining out, picking up the tab for their meal is a nice gesture – and an even better surprise.
Lend a hand. Are you good at carpentry, plumbing, or landscaping? Do you enjoy sewing, cooking, or cleaning? Offer your skills to help a military family in need, especially if a service member is deployed. Making use of these skills to show your support could not only brighten someone’s day but make life a little easier for military families juggling responsibilities.
Volunteer at a VA hospital or veterans’ shelter. Not every veteran has someone checking up on them, so seeing a friendly face, especially during times of struggle, could mean more than you know. VA medical facilities depend on volunteers to help with a variety of services, including visiting patients, running errands, or helping facilitate recreational activities. In addition, serving meals at a veterans’ shelter or donating goods to food pantries and shelters that serve veterans helps ensure basic needs are being cared for.
|Military Appreciation Month Observances|
|May was designated Military Appreciation Month by Congress in 1999. The month was specifically chosen because of the number of days set aside to honor the military. Here are some of the military-specific holidays and observances that take place in May.|
|May 1: Silver Star Banner Day|
|May 12: Military Spouse Appreciation Day|
|May 13: Children of Fallen Patriots Day|
|May 20: U.S. Armed Forces Day|
|May 29: Memorial Day|
Participate in parades and other veteran events. Many cities hold parades and celebration events during Military Appreciation Month. By attending the events, you can show your gratitude in person. Also, consider joining wreath-laying ceremonies for Memorial Day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Check-in with military families. If you know someone or have neighbors with a service member in the family who is stationed away from their loved ones, take some time to check in and let them know you’re there to help, if needed. The simple gesture will help the family know they have a bigger support system and give the service member more peace of mind knowing there is someone nearby to look in on their family members.
Listen to veterans’ stories. If you meet a veteran, take the time to get to know them and hear some of what they’ve dealt with in the service. You’ll likely be amazed and inspired by their stories. When it comes to companies, organizations, or events, programs like Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors Speak® give warriors and caregivers a platform to share their stories and raise awareness of the needs of injured veterans.
Donate to a veterans’ charity. One of the easiest and most impactful ways to honor service members and veterans is to donate to a veterans service organization (VSO). Wounded Warrior Project is dedicated to serving veterans and their families by providing a holistic approach to care, including mental wellness, physical health and wellness, peer support, financial education, and much more. Supporting VSOs is a good way to empower veterans to live their lives to the fullest.
Send a Military Care Package
Another way to thank active-duty service members is to send a military care package. Even during peacetime, there are things service members stationed in the U.S. and abroad can use and enjoy. It also doesn’t hurt to get an unexpected gift and reminder of home when you’re away from family.
Here are some ideas on what to send in a military care package:
Toiletries: Items like deodorant, soap, shampoo, and razors are always needed and appreciated. Those little things add up when it comes to costs and are necessary, whether in the field, deployed overseas, or even at home.
Deck of cards, puzzles, books. Even with all the modern technology out there, a deck of playing cards is a classic care package item. Books, puzzles, and games can also be a fun way to pass the time on deployment, in the field (if allowed), or at the barracks.
Feminine-hygiene products. Women are the fastest-growing demographic of veterans, and more and more are serving in the Armed Forces. Sending items specifically to women warriors shows them they’re being seen for their service and helps provide much-needed supplies that are often an extra expense for servicewomen.
Snacks. While beef jerky and the like are popular snacks when a service member is deployed to a combat zone, during peacetime, many service members can access snacks where they are. However, if the service member is away at basic training or stationed away from home and family, why not include some special treats that aren’t easily available and may be more personal?
A card or letter. It’s always nice to hear that what you’re doing is appreciated. When sending a military care package, let the service member know how important their sacrifice is and that it matters to you, in writing. Reading words of support and appreciation could go a long way toward brightening someone’s day.
Regardless of how you decide to show your appreciation to service members and veterans, we must never forget the sacrifice members of the U.S. Armed Forces are willing to make for us.
Contact: — Paris Moulden, Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.570.7910
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.