Memorial Day Weekend is upon us once more – a three-day weekend that has been reserved for you to see family, watch the Indy 500, or catch up on yard work that has been quietly calling to you over the past few weeks. You might pause to watch a firework show on Sunday evening or pull out your dusty American flag as a way to remember our country’s fallen heroes. There are ways our society has taught us to pause, reflect, and remember, but what can we do to help the heroes that need our support now? Perhaps this Memorial Day Weekend, you can use the appreciation you feel towards our fallen heroes as fuel to reach out to a military family currently in need of your support. According to the National Military Family Association, 70 percent of military families live in civilian communities – not on military installations. This means that you most likely know of a military family currently living in your neighborhood. What can you do to help?
1. Recommend Discounted Military Family Activities
Blue Star Museums is a program that offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 27, through Labor Day, September 2, 2013. See participating museums in your area.
2. Read and Spread the Word
The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University recently released a “How to Help” series for targeted community groups:
-Early Childhood Educators
-Family, Friends, & Neighbors
This series reminds us that something as simple as offering to take their car in for an oil change can greatly help the family during a time of deployment or transition. You can download the different brochures from MFRI’s website here.
3. Say “Thank You” to the Whole Family
Even though the service member may be the only family member deployed, the family as a whole has to change their routine and overcome the stress associated with a loved one’s deployment. Recognizing the family’s sacrifices to our country acknowledges that they too are our nation’s heroes.
So what will you do once your flag goes back in the attic, only to come out again for the 4th of July? Will your patriotism go back into storage…or will you share it with your neighbor?
Altar to the Flag inside the Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana
(Photo credit: Carl Van Rooy)