Paying tribute to our military who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom is something that everyone should consider.
However, you might be surprised to learn that one of the most impactful ways you can help support our servicemen and women will only cost you time.
Here are six easy and inexpensive ways you can serve the military and their families.
1. Wear Officially Licensed Apparel
If you want to show your support to the troops and their families by proudly displaying military emblems, slogans, and other trademarked images, you should only purchase officially licensed military apparel and gear.
By purchasing officially licensed military apparel, you are ensuring that the military receives the fees and royalties from your purchases. You can find a host of stores online that sell USMC unit patches, T-shirts, and other fully licensed accessories.
2. Volunteer to Place Flags on Gravesites
You can honor the fallen by volunteering to place flags at the gravesites of servicemen and women. You can do this individually or by organizing a group of volunteers in your area.
Placing flags at the gravesites of heroes before Memorial Day is a way to unite your community and pay tribute to the men and women who served our country. You can formally volunteer your time by contacting the Military Veteran Project to take part in the #FlagForward movement.
3. Reach Out to Military Families in Your Community
Extending a hand to a military family – whether it’s inviting them over, bringing them a meal, inviting them out for dinner – or even doing something as simple as running an errand for them or taking a walk together – can provide them with much-needed support.
If a mother or father in the family is deployed, there will be additional challenges for the spouses left at home. Simple acts, like mowing their lawn or helping to put up Christmas lights, mean a lot when you are alone.
4. Invite a Service Member Over for a Holiday Meal
If you have room at your table during the holidays, invite a serviceman or servicewoman over – even better, invite two. For people serving in the Army, the festive season can be a melancholy time.
If you want to include a service member in your holiday plans, contact the Community Relations Office of your local base to get more information.
5. Visit an Older Veteran or Wounded Vet
You can contact a nursing home or a veteran’s hospital to arrange to visit an older or wounded veteran. Not only will you be showing support and acknowledging their service, but your presence can really brighten their day.
To show our veterans that they are not forgotten, contact an organization like the Walter Reeds National Military Center – they have an active Facebook page that can provide you with some inspiration and ideas about how you can help.
6. Foster a Service Animal
The organization Dogs on Deployment arranges foster care for the pets of servicemen and women who are deployed or undergoing training and are subsequently unable to take care of them.
If you have space in your home and heart for another pet, consider becoming a foster for a military family by providing a temporary home – just be sure that you prepare before fostering a dog, so you know what to expect.