May has represented America’s official Military Appreciation Month since 1999. People observe the month in a variety of ways, with many celebrating military achievements, including Victory in Europe Day, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day.
Although there are hundreds of ways to thank our military, here are four of the easiest—and you can do them right away!
1. Simply say “thank you”
Servicemembers, typically don’t seek praise for their duty. One of the core values of many military men and women is “selfless service.” A “thank you” to someone you know that is serving or has served can go a long way. If you see someone in uniform on the street, just express your gratitude. It doesn’t cost anything, and it can reaffirm that servicemember’s reason for why they serve.
2. Pick up the tab
The vast majority of men and women in uniform didn’t decide to serve because of the money. Often there was a purpose behind their choice: love of country, wanting to learn new skills, assistance with college, etc.
Picking up the tab for a person in uniform is a great way to express your thanks. This doesn’t have to be a large sum. Maybe you see a Soldier or Marine standing in line at the local coffee shop. Offering to pay for their coffee or restaurant bill, although a small gesture, is a very memorable experience for someone who serves.
3. Volunteer to help
Maybe you know a military family, or are nearby a military base. Step in to help whether it be taking the dog on a walk, watching their kids for a few hours, or even doing some yard work. Most military families aren’t looking for any handouts, but offering an afternoon of peace and quiet for an exhausted military spouse demonstrates your gratitude and goes a long way.
4. Give back
Charitable organizations with a military affiliation are excellent ways to directly impact servicemembers in a positive way. These charitable organizations can provide advocacy, emergency assistance, grants, counseling, and other types of direct and indirect support. We’ve selected charities with the highest ratings for financial health, and whose contributions will be spent efficiently. The list also focuses on charities that whose mission supports all branches of the armed services:
- Armed Forces Foundation
- Armed Forces Relief Trust
- Fisher House Foundation
- The Freedom Alliance
- Homes for Our Troops
- National Military Family Association
- Operation Homefront
- Operation Support Our Troops – America
- Reconnect America
As the month of May comes to a close, continue the spirit of thanking our servicemembers throughout the year. Their service doesn’t stop, and neither should our expressions of gratitude toward them.