Military Appreciation Month
May is Military Appreciation Month (USA). While we appreciate our military and armed forces, and their contributions year round, this is the month designated to officially recognizing our armed forces and veterans. Whether it’s serving in conflicts or crises overseas, or helping out during disasters here at home, our military members sacrifice a lot to serve their country - often spending long periods of time away from their loved ones while putting themselves in danger in order to defend or help others.
There are a few days to pay tribute to the military during the year: In May, Memorial Day honors those we lost, and Armed Forces Day recognizes those who are currently serving. In November, we celebrate Veteran’s Day in honor of those who served.
Armed Forces Day Activities
First celebrated in 1950, Armed Forces Day was created to recognize the men and women serving in all 5 branches of the Armed Forces: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. It’s held annually on the 3rd Saturday in May. This year, it falls on Saturday, May 15th (2021).
Some communities have special Armed Forces Day activities or an Armed Forces Day parade, so if you’d like to show your appreciation as a member of the public, it’s good to reach out to your local veterans association to see what might be planned!
Even if there is no official Armed Forces Day activity near you, there are still so many ways that you can show your support and give your thanks to a member of the military.
How Do You Show Your Appreciation for Someone in the Military?
Any time is a good time to let people know that you appreciate their hard work and sacrifice, so if you want to send thank you messages to soldiers in your life, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Wear Your Patriotic Gear
Grab that old Army t-shirt out of the drawer and wear it around. Or buy yourself something new and wear it around. Wearing your patriotism, literally, on your sleeve is a subtle way to show your support.
Make a Donation
Another way to show your support is to make a financial donation. There are so many wonderful charitable organizations out there that focus on supporting military families and veterans. We love The Gary Sinise Foundation, not only because it was founded by Forrest Gump’s beloved Lt. Dan, but because they offer such diverse support through their programs, such as adapted homes for the severely wounded, scholarships for Military and Veteran Kids, and mental health and suicide prevention support.
Send a Care Package
Want to show your appreciation with a gift? Even if you don’t know a deployed soldier personally, you can find one who has requested a care package here. Create your box of treats and messages of encouragement, or take a look at these expert tips to sending care packages.
Support a Military Spouse
Military service has a huge impact on the family of the active member. Military spouses can be alone for a long period of time. Often with sole responsibility of the household, children, pets - and their own occupation. It can be isolating and lonely - and a heck of a lot of work.
Some of the ways that you can show appreciation to the spouses of Armed Forces members are to check in on their family. Make them a meal. Look after some odd jobs around the house or yard. Bring Mama a bottle of wine! Call and offer help, companionship, and friendship.
Say Thank You
Do you have someone in your life who is enlisted? Spot someone in uniform when you’re out and about? The easiest way to show your appreciation is just to speak to that person directly and offer them your thanks. It’s personal, heartwarming, and sincere. And you just might make their day!
Quotes and Thank You Messages for Soldiers
If you can’t see them, shake their hand, and say “Thank you” in person, you can always make a group video, full of kind, thoughtful messages of support and encouragement for an Armed Forces member. If you’re a bit camera shy, or in need of some inspiration for what to say, here are some helpful quotes:
- "America without her Soldiers would be like God without His angels." -- Claudia Pemberton
- "America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor." -- Paul Tsongas
- “I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” - Lee Greenwood, God Bless the USA
- “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” -- Joseph Campbell
- "There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer." -- Gen. James H. Doolittle
Finally, on Memorial Day, we remember and honor those who have served in our Armed Forces. You may take some time to visit the final resting place of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Or you may simply choose to spend time with your loved ones, in peace and comfort. Whatever you choose, we can all be thankful for those who have served and who continue to serve.