Ways to support our veterans throughout the year
The last Monday in May brings plenty to celebrate. School is almost out for the summer, BBQ season is up and going, and it’s a long weekend for extra relaxation. But the most important part of that Monday is a time to honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day.
America has a long history of brave soldiers that have sacrificed for our freedom. Memorial Day started just post-Civil War as families and towns called for nationwide remembrance of the sacrifices of soldiers across our nation. It began as “Decoration Day,” in the late 1800s. It was a day of remembrance of all soldiers, with no particular battle in mind. It was a time to decorate the graves of soldiers with flowers and tokens of appreciation.
Fast forward to present day, and we still continue to celebrate the sacrifices of our military men and women. But our modern lives allow us to do more than simply decorate with flowers. We’ve compiled a few unique ways to honor our fallen heroes throughout the year.
Honor a living veteran
One of the best ways to offer gratitude for veteran’s sacrifices is by donating your time or services. The Arizona Department of Veteran’s Services offers a variety of opportunities to volunteer. Whether it’s escorting a veteran on special outings or making weekly visits to the veterans home, you can show your appreciation by spending time with a local vet in your area.
Send a care package to deployed service members
Care packages in the mail are even more special when they are arriving for tired and homesick troops who are still extending their service overseas. This Memorial Day weekend, rally your neighbors and organize a care package party. The AZ Military Support Group has lists of resources that vets need the most overseas, as well as locations for their own packing events if you’d prefer to join an existing group.
Support local and veteran-owned business
After coming back from serving our country, many veterans make the most of their return by opening their own business. When you are searching for services, make shopping with a local veteran owned business a priority. With everything from getting your blinds cleaned, to photo booth entertainers for parties, there are ways to integrate veteran-owned businesses into your daily life all year long.
The second best thing to shopping with a veteran-owned business is shopping with companies that support our troops. Companies that offer military discounts or host fundraisers for a particular vet related charity help support a community that often gets overlooked.
Donate your airline miles to sick or injured vets
Donations come in many forms and don’t always have to come out of your checkbook. The Fisher House Foundation set up the Hero Miles Program to allow anyone to donate their frequent flyer miles to sick or injured Vets and their families that are under treatment at a hospital or VA medical center. After trauma and injury in the line of duty, one of the best gifts you can give is time with loved ones. Programs like this are a low cost of entry to make a huge difference in a day for a veteran.
You can also continue to honor our heroes all year long and join the annual Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade in November. There’s a chance to nominate a vet in your community to be the Grand Marshall of the parade as an additional honor for heroes who have served our country.
Memorial Day is not just a weekend celebration. We know that “freedom isn’t free” and the cost of time, volunteer work, and small donations we can ensure our veterans both present and past know the depths of our gratitude.
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