As a veteran of the United States Army, Military Appreciation Month is always a time that creates mixed emotions. On the one hand, there are the handshakes, Facebook posts, and family and friends who send their messages of love and appreciation. On the other, there are the memories of my time overseas and the friends that I miss. So what does Military Appreciation Month mean to me? Let’s first take a look at the history.
Military Appreciation Month was established in 1999. The legislation was passed with the support of over 50 veteran organizations. May was chosen because it already has the most days set aside to celebrate our military’s achievements. Those days include Loyalty Day, Victory in Europe Day (which commemorates the end of the World War II in Europe), Armed Forces Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and of course Memorial Day. The idea of the month is very simple: Military Appreciation Month has been established for the nation to take time to gather around its service members and remember how important they are to this nation and its security.
So what does that mean to me? Well, I come from a long lineage of military service members. Both of my grandfathers served in the Navy during World War II. When the twin towers were attacked, I was one of four family members who volunteered for military service. It has been my experience that many (maybe even most) members of the civilian population have no idea of the sacrifices that service members go through to keep our beautiful country safe and keep our flag flying over the Land of the Free. Granted, it’s not easy to imagine what service members experience (which contributes to a lack of understanding), and some people disagree with the policies and decisions that result in service members being deployed (which often gets projected onto members of the military themselves).
But that doesn’t mean that service members or the choice to serve in the military should be disrespected. Here in the US, the lack of respect for service members’ sacrifices can be seen in many places, but the most visible and recent representation of disrespect has been individuals posting videos and images of the desecration of the flag. It is ironic that this is occurring during Military Appreciation Month – and tragic. Every service member wears that flag on their uniform, and I can only imagine the disappointment and anger that they feel when they see those images.
Getting off of that soap box, please remember to take the time to reach out to your friends and loved ones who have served and are currently serving in the military. Military Appreciation Month and the holidays that are specific to the military in the month of May are a time to reach out and thank those who have protected our country and who are currently protecting it. It’s more than a long weekend and a barbeque. It is more than presidential speeches. It’s more than getting the pool opened up. This is a time that is set aside to remember those who have made sacrifices – in many cases the ultimate sacrifice – for your freedom.
Lafleur Marketing would like to thank all of our veterans, service members, and those who are currently serving overseas for their hard work, sacrifice, and bravery. We appreciate your dedication, the time that you have given up from your friends and families, and the dangers that you have faced. Thank you. And if you are overseas, come home safe.