I, like a majority of Americans have never served in the military, but on this month designated as National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM), there is a question we should ask ourselves. The question is whether in our world of comfort and safety, do we ever give serious thought about those who made sacrifices for the very freedoms which many of us take for granted? I believe most of us would agree that it is difficult for the average person to imagine the true horrors and ravages of war. If for example, the incidence of PTSD amongst our current servicemen coming home from the Middle East is an indicator of how horrifying war is, then we as a society need to seriously think about what our troops are going through and seriously recognize the significance of this month
On this month I am reminded of a personal experience involving my younger brother who served in the Navy on the U.S.S Forrestal, a supercarrier during the conflict with Libya in 1986 when Ghadafi threatened to fire on U.S naval forces if they crossed what was called the “Line of Death” or Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean Sea. The U.S crossed into the territory and I remember what seemed like the longest of nights where we, just one of many families were worried sick. We should all think more about their experience and sacrifice, those who served and are currently serving our country.
Note there are 6 distinct National Observances related to this theme this month: http://militarybenefits.info/national-military-appreciation-month/
As you go about your daily routines this month of May, be aware that service men and women both young and old, often silent, proud, sometimes scared by the ravages of war, call out to us quietly with their hats, shirts, bumper stickers and even stories about WWII, the Korean war, Vietnam and the Middle East. Those who have served can be found everywhere we go; I’ve come across many veterans in places such as McDonalds, where older individuals gather to socialize. Taking notice of hats and pins, I have on at least one occasion (Veterans Day) given a collective “thank you for your service”, which was warmly received.
To show appreciation for those who served our country I would like to share with you five things you can do to honor the brave men and women of our military past and present. They are small things but they mean a lot:
Display the American Flag
Send a care package to a soldier through USOCARES
When you see a military person in uniform, shake their hand and thank them.
If you are a business owner, hire a veteran or offer military discounts
Salute a soldier or veteran
In addition, do share a brief story or your thoughts on this blog if you care to do so. I’ve included some web sites for your general reading related to this very important month and I have a movie suggestion, one of my favorites, that really captures the spirit of the month (if you can access it), which is Saving Private Ryan.