It’s National Military Appreciation Month and we are so eager to honor our veterans and military service members for their contributions and efforts to keep us safe and comfortable. Every day that goes by with our freedom still intact is all thanks to them for being on the front lines to support the great United States of America. Some of them pay the ultimate price for our freedom, for which we are forever indebted.
National Military Appreciation Month started as this idea: “To gather America around its military family to honor, remember, recognize and appreciate those who have served and those now serving and to know the history behind it all.”
In 1999, legislation passed in the United States Senate, designating May as National Military Appreciation Month. This was supported by Senator John McCain and Representative Duncan Hunter, as well as over 50 veteran service organizations.
Another thing to remember is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which is also in May. We don’t often think of the family behind the service member, but when they lose a loved one or have to be apart from them during a tour, it takes a toll on them as well. We forget that being in a military family requires a lot of sacrifice, and we honor those families for having the courage to support their troops through all endeavors.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan “recognized the profound importance of spousal commitment to the readiness and well-being of military members.” President Reagan did so with the Proclamation 5184. Congress then officially established Military Spouse Appreciation Day as a part of the National Military Appreciation Month in the same year that it, too, was created: 1999. It is noted and declared to be the Friday before Mother’s Day (fittingly) every year.
The final observance we make in May is, of course, Memorial Day. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and more than 20 cities and towns still claim to be the creators and “birthplaces” of the Federal Holiday. Nevertheless, Waterloo, New York, was officially named the birthplace of the holiday in 1966, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Memorial Day was initially thought of after the time of the Civil War, as a need to honor all those that served and died during that time.
In May of 1868, General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared, “The 30th of May…is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard, in the land.” It is noted that the particular day was chosen for being free of any previous battle anniversaries.
We commemorate those who gave their lives in service and we assure the surviving families that we will remember their loved one’s expense for our country. There is a scheduled minute of silence in place at 3:00 PM local time, to honor and remember those military personnel.
We recognize May as being the month of appreciation, but our gratitude lives on throughout every month of the year, as we are reminded of the cost of our freedom. An important holiday in the upcoming month of June (the 27th) to note is PTSD Awareness Day. PTSD or, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder in which an individual has anxiety-induced flashbacks from a traumatic event. For our military members, anything from day-to-day life can be a trigger for these attacks, such as a loud noise, like a tire blowing out or a dish crashing onto the floor. Being startled easily and feeling constant tension is stressful for these victims, and they can often become depressed, irritable, and/or reclusive.
We must do our best to raise true awareness of this disorder, and others like it, in order to help our soldiers recover from their harrowing services. When you notice a loved one struggling, lend a helping hand, and stay up to date on the latest research, where facilities, such as the Department of Veteran Affairs, are working round-the-clock to find solutions and treatments.
PTSD is a gateway disorder to many other physiological and psychological conditions, so to help as much as you can, as soon as you can, is imperative. We love you, soldiers. We want you to feel at home in the country you fought so diligently and dauntlessly to protect. If you are a military member or veteran, or a family member or friend that is concerned about one, please call the helplines listed below.
- Veteran Crisis Line & National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 – Veterans and concerned friends/family, press 1.
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255 We thank you for your service and honor you this May for National Military Appreciation Month, and in the coming months where we will once again turn our focus to you on holidays like PTSD Awareness Day, Independence Day, and more. Please, reach out when you are feeling hopeless, as we strive to be a nation of helping hands for you.
- “There are some who have forgotten why we have a military. It is not to promote war, it is to be prepared for peace.” – President Ronald Reagan
- “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” – President John F. Kennedy
- Thank you to the families of military members as well, as we can’t imagine the pain you must feel after losing a loved one to war, and the longing you must feel while they’re away on duty. We’re thinking of you, too.
- If you would like to help or give in any way to our troops, you can do so by visiting supportourtroops.org, or any other charity, to learn how you can be of service to our service members.