Summary: Memorial Day is often used for self-congratulation or celebration. Some are seven ways we can honor the sacrifices made by our veterans. Make Memorial Day a big day.
“Our Veterans put everything on the line to protect our freedom. We may never be able to repay them for their sacrifice, but we can show them just how much we appreciate all that they’ve done. Everyone can do something to show Veterans know how much we appreciate their service. What will you do?” (From the Vet Admin.)
Our men and women in uniform served this nation. Most contributed their time and energy. Many contributed much more. Some contributed all they had to give. Here are suggestions about ways we can honor that sacrifice.
(7) Memorial Day – the basics.
Visit cemeteries to place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes. Visit war memorials. Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon. Join or cheer a parade!
(6) Help those in our armed forces, both active duty and veterans
Donate to support the Blue Star Mothers of America.
From the Blue Star Mothers of America website, describing who they are and what they do…
“We are mothers who now have, or have had, children honorably serving in the military. We are a non-profit (501[c]3) service organization supporting each other and our children while promoting patriotism.
“The Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. is a non-partisan, non-political organization. We do not support any political candidate, nor do we endorse any religious organization. The military represents all aspects of America as does our organization.
“We provide support for active duty service personnel, promote patriotism, assist Veterans organizations, and are available to assist in homeland volunteer efforts to help our country remain strong. Blue Star Mothers volunteer in VA hospitals and outreach centers, helping with physical and emotional rehabilitation. We collect medical supplies, food, and clothing. We provide transportation and friendship.”
(5) Help those in our armed forces, both active duty and veterans
“The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
“The USO provides programs and services at more than 180 locations worldwide. Whether they’re deployed to a war zone or stationed overseas, service members are only a request or a visit away from receiving a range of USO services: holiday care Packages, entertainment, Operation Phone Home®, and the USO Care Package Program.”
Whether helping a soldier with a connecting flight, distributing a Care Package, serving snacks with a smile, providing local information, or “welcoming home” troops from deployment, USO volunteers are vital to the success of the USO’s mission. For example, helping a group of tired young men and women at 1 am in the USO at Los Angeles airport, grateful for place to relax, eat (free), and call home – hanging out for hours until their flight out.
While the duties of a volunteer vary, the goal is always the same: to improve the quality of life for service members, to boost their morale, and to serve as the link between service members and the American people.
If you are interested in becoming a USO volunteer, please visit the locations directory to contact the USO center nearest you.
(4) Volunteer at the Department of Veterans Affairs
These service agencies are there for our troops when they need help. When they’re traveling, on isolated bases (especially during holidays), when injured, when returned home with disabilities, and on a thousand other occasions. Supporting them is a great way to celebrate the sacrifice of those who died while serving in America’s armed forces. As the Vet Dept website says…
“Over 140,000 volunteers gave more than 11 million hours in service to America’s Veterans. It is impossible to calculate the amount of caring and sharing that these VAVS volunteers provide to Veteran patients. VAVS volunteers are a priceless asset to the Nation’s Veterans and to the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
(3) Help a veteran get a job
See the Department of Labor’s website with resources for employers.
(2) Force Congress to better fund care for Veterans
There is no excuse for underfunding care for veterans. Many will require immediate care. Some will require long-term care. Persecuting the VA officials who attempt to spin gold from straw — making do with the inadequate dollars that Congress provides – does not help. Write your Representative and Senators! Tell them to adequately fund the VA now.
(1) Stop our vain wars
After 150 years of frequent wars, perhaps we need to up our game as the list of American dead grows longer. Let’s end wars that do nothing for America’s security, like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Our troops pay the price for our folly.
Not all the deeds done by our troops have been glorious, nor have all their missions been just or even good. But that is our responsibility, not theirs. America is a democracy. We bear the full responsibility, collectively, for sending our troops into harm’s way. We bear the responsibility for what they do and for what happens to them.
Let’s not have to build more monuments like this, unless we’re attacked.
For More Information
- The origin of Memorial Day.
- On Memorial Day let’s admit what we’ve done to America & begin its reform.
- A speech by President Lincoln at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 19 November 1863.
- John Quincy Adams gave us sound advice about foreign interventions in his speech at the House of Representatives on 4 July 1821.
A reminder about Memorial Day. It’s not national BBQ day.