Ways to Support the Military
Military service appreciation is something that’s deeply engrained within our patriotic culture. And rightfully so! The freedoms we enjoy as American citizens are the direct result of the individuals who defend them. Honoring and supporting active-duty military members and veterans is the least we can do to show our appreciation for everything they do—and everything they’ve sacrificed for us.
If you’re looking for ways to support the military, you don’t need to look too hard: there are numerous ways to do it! Here’s a look at some of the simplest, most common and most meaningful—things that any person can do.
1. Send Care Packages
One of the easiest and most familiar ways to support the military is by sending the troops a care package. A care package can include important and comforting items the troops can’t easily get their hands on during deployment such as candy, chips, magazines, and other comforts of home, to lift their spirits. There are plenty of organizations and programs which do this around the holidays for a festive outreach or even year-round.
If you personally know someone in the military—be it a family member, friend, neighbor or someone in the community—this effort is even more meaningful. Stuff their care package full of things they’ll love to show them that you’re thinking of them specifically. You can even ask them what they need or are missing most, for a truly meaningful care package.
2. Thank a Military Service Member
When you see a member of the Armed Forces, thank them in person! Whether you see a service member in their uniform in line at the coffee shop or a retired member wearing a Vietnam vet hat while pumping gas, a simple thank you can show your appreciation. Make sure when you thank them, you keep it brief and friendly to avoid tying up their day or making them uncomfortable. Often, a simple “thank you for your service” is all it takes to put a smile on their face.
Thanking a service member is even more meaningful on national holidays. Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, Independence Day and Memorial Day are all opportunities to take time out of your day and pay homage to those who’ve sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms. On these days especially, your thanks means everything to them.
3. Donate to a Military Organization
One of the best ways to support military service members is to give your time or money to a worthy cause related to the Armed Forces. When you give to the VA, Wounded Warrior or a similar organization, you’re supporting service members in a way that helps them do their job, transition back into civilian life or care for an older veteran in need of extra help. Aside from giving your money, you can also volunteer your time either at one of these organizations or something local.
When donating time and money, look for organizations with a great reputation and who are open and transparent about where your donation goes. Those that offer direct support to service members are the best to donate to, because the majority of your donation will provide immediate support.
4. Support Military Families
There’s no question about the sacrifices military service members make to keep us and our freedoms safe. But many people also forget that their families and loved ones also make sacrifices. While they’re deployed, the families of military service members need to find ways to get through the day on their own, not always knowing if their spouse or parent is safe overseas or in a combat zone.
If there is a military family in your neighborhood or church, offer to help out where you can. From offering to mow their lawn when you mow your own to bringing over a casserole once a week to make things less hectic, there are lots of thoughtful ways to support the military by extending that support to their families.
5. Be an Engaged Citizen
Military service members stand on the front lines of defending our freedoms—freedoms like the right to free and open elections or the right to practice the religion we want. One of the simplest and most meaningful ways to support the military and thank service members is to never take these freedoms for granted. Vote in your local election, lend a helping hand through your religious organization and practice enjoying the freedoms that are provided to you through the sacrifice of others.
Always remember that freedom isn’t free: there’s a price paid by everyone who enlists in the military and puts on a uniform. Whether they’re on the front lines or part of the chain of command, these individuals make it possible to live in a free country.
Show Your Support for Military Service Members
Whether it’s a simple “thank you” while you’re both pumping gas or a show of appreciation through a donation of time, everyone has the power to support our military service men and women. When you do, you acknowledge everything they do to keep you and your freedoms safe. A simple show of support is the least we can all do to honor them.
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