7 Awesome Ways to Show Your Military Appreciation During National Military Appreciation Month
National Military Appreciation Month is celebrated in May every year to honor the selfless servants of this great country. Regardless of branch, service members work selflessly overseas and on the home front to guarantee that we remain the home of the free. What better way to honor them than spending an entire month in appreciation? Here are 7 AWESOME ways to show your appreciation for Service members who are currently serving, prior military and those who died fighting while brave. These tips work all year long, so don’t worry about cramming them all in for the month of May!
Pay respects at a Veteran Cemetery or Memorial
Cemeteries and memorials can be an eerie thing. Some people cringe at the thought of visiting such a sacred place ESPECIALLY with kids. However, if you can find it in your heart to go, I highly encourage taking the time to do so. There are few things that give you a sense of American pride like standing at the memorials or graves of brave men and women who sacrificed their own lives for our country. If you choose to spend only a second saying thank you or make a day to read the engraved stories of our fallen heroes, I doubt you’ll regret the experience especially during National Military Appreciation Month when a lot of these sites host ceremonies .
For those with kids, visiting memorials can be a daunting task but we’ve got you covered. Travel blogger Courtney Blacher from The World in Four Days took her 8- year- old daughter to Pearl Harbor for an amazing hands-on learning experience and one on one history lesson from the mouths of amazing veterans. Click HERE to find out how she made this experience fun and engaging for her daughter! Washington DC is a great option for those willing to take the trip. There are notable sites like Arlington Nation Cemetery, Marine Corps Memorial and Disabled Veterans memorial to name a few. Also, know that you don’t have to break the travel account for the experience. Most Military bases have memorials even if they are small so check your local active base for more details.
Volunteer at the VA or Veterans Home/Hospital
If you have free time in your schedule, a great way to show your appreciation is through volunteer work. Volunteering at the VA or a Veteran’s Home or hospital gives you direct contact with some of our nation’s finest. Not only will you get the chance to serve those who once served you but if you’re lucky, you’ll get to make connections and hear some amazing first hand stories. For the athletically inclined, the Department of Veteran Affairs is always looking for volunteers to assist with the Veteran’s National Games. This could be such a fun and fulfilling experience for everyone in your family to participate.
Send letters and cards to Deployed Service Members or Veterans
With social media, we often forget the power of a stamp and hand written letter or card. There is just something special and heartfelt about taking your time to write and mail something off. National Military Appreciation month is the perfect time to pick up a pen and paper and write about your appreciation for those who have served this amazing country selflessly. Aside from writing to a family member who is home or deployed, consider writing to a stranger or a service member who does not have family back home to communicate with.
The best way to find soldiers in need of cards and letters is simply to ask around. Post on spouse or your local military base groups asking who’s currently going through a deployment or sign up for websites like Operation Gratitude. They not only have letter writing campaigns but you can take it a step further by volunteering, sending care packages and more!
Support Military, Veteran and Milspouse owned Businesses
Military, Veteran and Milspouse owned businesses are on the rise. In fact, one in every 10 businesses are said to be Military owned. In our post “How you can support Veteran and Milspouse Entrepreneurs” written by Jenny Hale, we offered some amazing ways to connect with Military entrepreneurs and support their business growth. Try searching #VeteranOwned or #MilspouseOwned or even ask in spouse and family groups to see if anyone offers a good or service that you need. This is another tip that’s great year- round and not just for National Military Appreciation Month!
Acts of Kindness for A service member
Don’t you just love a good act of kindness? I know I do, so much in fact that I always add acts of kindness to our family bucket list of the year! When it comes to Military appreciation, I have seen many ways to execute an act of kindness. Paying for the groceries of the Military family behind you or paying for the dinner of a Military family at a restaurant. However, your act of kindness doesn’t always have to cost you money. Consider volunteering to babysit while a service member and their spouse enjoy a night out, cook dinner for a family reuniting after deployment, provide your business or service free for a Vet. There are so many ways to accomplish this with no money and a ton of creativity!
Participate in Remembrance Runs and Family Events at your local Installation
If you live near a base or in a military friendly area, chances are you’ll find plenty of events to attend during the month of May. At most installations and neighboring cities, you’ll be able to find fun runs, BBQ’s, Family nights, free admissions to parks and attractions and so much more. Contact your local MWR for event details, ask around in facebook groups and even check Eventbrite for events that are military related and local to you!
Deliver Food and Drinks to the Gate of the Military Installation
Do you ever stop to think about the service members who work odd or extended shifts? From first-hand experience, I know that all my husband wanted during the days of working the gate or staff duty is for someone to bring snacks and water to get through the long shift. This tip doesn’t have to take much of your money or time but sure to bring a smile to that service member’s face. Just take a few seconds to deliver a bag of variety snacks and a case of water to those working the gate, this is the perfect thank you!