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Members of the military perform an invaluable service. In volunteering to defend their nation and even vulnerable individuals across the globe, military members safeguard a way of life that enables millions of people to fulfill their potential and live happy, productive lives.
Much of what military members do is out of the public eye. But that does not mean their sacrifices and heroic efforts should not garner public recognition and attention. Be it small and subtle gestures or more grandiose efforts, there are many things people can do to show their appreciation for military personnel.
•Display the flag. Displaying your nation’s flag outside your home is a great way to express your patriotism and support for the people who defend that nation each and every day. Both the United States and Canada have established protocols for displaying their national flags. Adhere to these rules to indicate you respect what the flag symbolizes, and appreciate the sacrifices the people who defend it make to ensure you have a safe place to display it.
•Start an oral history of local veterans’ experiences. An oral history project is a great way to show veterans their sacrifices have not been forgotten and an even better way to ensure they never will be. Work with local government officials or military support organizations to begin an oral history project. Request assistance from officials at local universities or libraries for everything from funding the project to ensuring it is accessible to a wide audience.
There’s no limit to the scope of an oral history project. Organizers can begin by asking veterans to share their experiences in the military, what compelled them to volunteer and why it’s important that future generations follow their example. As the project progresses, the scope can be expanded (or narrowed), but organizers should ensure local veterans remain the focal point.
•Help injured veterans. Many military service personnel who serve overseas return from active duty with injuries. Individuals who want to express their appreciation for military personnel can offer to help injured veterans. Whether it’s mowing an injured veteran’s lawn in the summertime or running errands for them when their injury causes fatigue, no gesture is too small or too big when it’s motivated by a desire to help someone who was hurt defending your country.
•Remember veterans when voting. Issues that affect veterans’ lives are often decided at the polls. Individuals who want to express their appreciation for military personnel can speak with local veterans about the issues that affect their everyday lives and what they can do come Election Day to ensure those issues are being addressed.
The efforts of military personnel are worthy of appreciation. Individuals can do many things to express that appreciation and remind active and veteran service members that their sacrifices have not been forgotten.