As you all know, yesterday was Memorial Day, a day to remember those who sacrificed their lives to protect our country. If you’re like me, you likely celebrated with a BBQ or two, hitting up a few sales and or perhaps visited the grave in remembrance of a loved one. While Memorial Day is typically about those who have given their lives for their country, literally, I always tend to reflect on those who are also giving the life they may prefer to live to serve their country. So many service men and women have chosen to be separated from their families, given up the opportunity to build a career in the traditional sense and ultimately have committed to be wherever duty calls no matter what that means for their own personal desires, well being and sometimes even their future. Both sacrificing your literal life and what you’re life could be are something so far beyond my comprehension, that I can’t help but want to honor these men and women more often than one day out of the year. That being said, now that Memorial Day is passed, I wanted to share a few ideas of how you and your sweetie can come together to show respect to these men and women who are making the ultimate sacrifice as well as identify some great organizations that offer support on a day to day basis.
INTERVIEW A VETERAN & SHARE THEIR STORY // Veterans History Project is an initiative by the Library of Congress to collect and document the stories of war veterans. If you have someone in your family, community and neighborhood, you can help them do just that. Check out their site for all the details on getting involved.
DRIVE A VETERAN TO THE DOCTOR // Disabled American Veterans provides transportation for veterans who can’t travel independently to Veterans Affairs medical clinics. If you have a driver’s license and couple of hours of free time, you can help tremendously by driving a van for those who need a ride.
SPONSOR A COMPANION DOG FOR VETERANS WITH PTSD // A high percentage of veterans experience post traumatic stress disorder and while a companion dog can’t heal everything, pets have been known to soothe anxiety and ultimately bring love to lives of their owners. Puppies Behind Bars is a great organization which prisoners train companion dogs for veterans with PTSD. You can make a donation to support this great organization or even sponsor a dog that you can then follow along through the training process as well as their lives with their veteran.
SEND A CARE PACKAGE // We shared a bit about this on Valentine’s Day as well, but a care package or even just a beautifully written letter of gratitude is a great way to let service men and women know they are appreciated and haven’t been forgotten. A Million Thanks is a great organization to help your gifts and words reach active duty service men and women.
DONATE MILES // The Hero Miles Program is an initiative that accepts frequent flier miles as donations giving them to the family of hospitalized veterans. This project makes it possible for many veterans to have family by their bedside during times of hospitalization and rehabilitation, using the miles many Americans have at their fingertips.
BUILD HOMES FOR HEROES // Often when returning to home, veteran injuries require home modifications. Building Homes for Heroes is an amazing organization that builds specialized homes for injured veterans so they can live independently. You can support this organization, both financially and by volunteering your time.
SAY THANK YOU // And, of course, something as simple as a shout out on Social Media or a thank you when you come across someone who has protected our country, goes a very, very long way in recognizing the sacrifice these men and women are making on a daily basis.
If you have any ideas about how to incorporate the spirit of Memorial Day into the every day, we’d love to hear them and of course, if you’re an organization that supports our troops in any way, we’d be happy to share your initiative with our readers.