National Veterans & Military Families Month
A Thanksgiving Feast, Black Friday shopping, and the start of the Christmas and Holiday Season, all these are time-honored traditions in November. It is full of plenty of eating, shopping and celebrating. But, beyond these events, November is also when we recognize Veterans Day (November 11th) and Military Families Month. We honor our veterans and their families and their great contributions, service and selfless sacrifice protecting our freedom. But, how can we do that as a nation with our actions? What are some simple practices that we can put in place to help and support our veterans and Blue Star Families during National Veterans and Military Families Month and throughout the year? So, first, the 2017 proclamation itself which hold great weight and value (as so many Presidents have done before) and then some simple strategies and practices we can all put into practice,
By the President of the United States, A Proclamation:
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2017 as National Veterans and Military Families Month. I encourage all communities, all sectors of society, and all Americans to acknowledge and honor the service, sacrifices, and contributions of veterans and military families for what they have done and for what they do every day to support our great Nation.”
Simple Guidelines and Tips (& event a little common sense etiquette)
If you know a spouse/family of a deployed service member, check on them often. Offer to help. Small gestures matter. When my husband was deployed during the War on Terror(ism), he, as were we, so grateful for the meals, babysitting, yard work help and love and support that were given to us.
If you are related or close to someone serving or have served, of course, call, send a text, or choose a way to convey your thanks often, but certainly thank them on the appropriate holidays. If you have a close relationship with a veteran ask them often how they are doing, thank them, and show interest in their service or past time of service. (If there are trauma issues, navigate this very carefully and use discretion. Of course, seek help if necessary.)
Blue Star Families, 2017 Military Family Lifestyle Survey (2017 MFLS) showed:
- 31% of service members have not had an in-depth conversation with a local civilian in the past month
- 51% feel that they do not belong in their local civilian community
Thank the spouse and military family. We served in a different capacity, but we certainly serve, especially our children. According to Blue Star Families, (2017 MFLS) reports the top issues among military spouses and service members are:
1st Amount of time away from family
2nd Spousal Employment
3rd Military Pay/Benefits.
1st Amount of time away from family
2nd Military Pay/Benefits
3rd Family Stability/Quality of life.
*Quality childcare is also a top issue among those serving and their families.
Take a military kid out to their favorite spot for an afternoon…to a park, buy them ice cream, and send them a note or just a phone call or text to check on them. Be creative here for our kiddos and older children alike.
Be mindful of all family members (parents with deployed/serving children, siblings and extended family members will appreciate that extra acknowledgment of their commitment and sacrifice as well.)
If you have a close relationship, it is certainly nice to take a service member/veteran to lunch or breakfast on a day of service significance. Even just a simple cup of coffee at the local coffee shop of Starbucks. ™ Do they expect that? No. Is it a nice gesture? Absolutely.
Send a Veterans Day Card on the appropriate day or just a simple note of thanks, especially if they have just finished a challenging time during their service.
Fly the American Flag. Who doesn’t love seeing our Red, White & Blue flying on a beautiful crisp day?
If you know of a locally veteran-owned shop or spouse-owned business, visit and patronize it often.
Never make light of one’s service by making comments that diminish their service. (Sadly, this happens.) Regardless of the branch, time of service/deployment length, reserve/active or area of specialty, all service men and women are sacrificing.
Pray for our all our service members/veterans and especially those still serving in dangerous parts of the globe. Pray for the families holding down the home front, too.
Hire a veteran. Hire a spouse. According to the Blue Star Families, (2017 MFLS) Here are some enlightening results:
- 28% of military spouses are unemployed and actively seeking work.
- 51% of employed military spouses earned less than $20K in 2016
If you have the ability and are able to help, step in, do whatever you can if they are transitioning from military life to civilian life. Invite them over for a summer BBQ, Sunday brunch or neighborhood potluck. Again, reaching out, and a little creativity goes a long way. According to the (2017 MFLS) 60% of our of veterans report adjusting to civilian life was difficult.
Lastly, tailor your thanks to the veteran/service member you know personally and military families. Chose something we missed. This is not an exhaustive list. But, don’t put it off for “another day.” Every day is a good day to thank a Veteran and a military family.
Some simple, mindful ways to thank and recognize our Veterans and Military Families are truly win-wins. These gifts of thankfulness and appreciation to and for our Veterans and Military Families far outweigh any gift that could be bought or purchased. During this time of thanksgiving and gift giving, let us truly be thankful for that one gift that truly defines and make up our quality of life…our Freedom! Which was secured and purchased through the selfless sacrifice of our Veterans and Military Families throughout this great nation and our nation’s history.
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