Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Making the Most of Memorial Day


They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
~Francis Marion Crawford

[Note: Since its original appearance, this post has been updated regularly with links to additional resources, below. The most recent update was added on May 29, 2017]

Nearly three million men and women have served in the U.S. military over the last fifteen years, and more than half of them are married with children.
 
Originally designated as a day “to cherish tenderly the memory of our heroic dead,” Memorial Day is held on the last Monday of May each year. The holiday offers us a great opportunity to recognize and honor the sacrifice of these dedicated service members and their families.

We can help our children and grandchildren understand why this holiday is a special one for our country.  See, for example, Celebrating Memorial Day with Children.

In addition, as this holiday weekend approaches, we can make an effort to learn about and support some of the many organizations devoted to helping military families through the challenges they face:
  • Warrior Gateway is designed to help veterans, their families and caregivers select from and connect with needed services and programs in their local communities.  
  • USO – United Services Organization is a congressionaly chartered, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide morale, welfare and recreation-type services to service members and their families.  
  • Soldiers’ Angels Founded by the mother of two American soldiers, this volunteer-led organization provides aid and comfort to veterans, the wounded, deployed service members and their families.
  • A Million Thanks is a year-round campaign to show our appreciation to our U.S. Military Men and Women for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country through our letters, emails, cards, and prayers. 
  • Hire Vets First is a comprehensive career Web site to assist veterans, managers and human resources specialists in matching employment opportunities with American military veterans.
  • Bugles Across America was founded by a veteran to ensure that during a military burial service, every fallen hero will receive a live rendition of Taps, played by a live bugler .
     
  • TAPS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is “the 24/7 tragedy assistance resource for ANYONE who has suffered the loss of a military loved one, regardless of the relationship to the deceased or the circumstance of the death . . .  TAPS provides comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs including peer based emotional support, case work assistance, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources.”  (TAPS is featured in the Time Magazine article, TAPS: Help for the Families of Fallen Soldiers)
  • American Widow Project is a non-profit organization “dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter--Military Widow to Military Widow.
    • Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance which invites us to pause for one minute on Memorial Day, at 3:00 p.m. local time, to acknowledge the sacrifices of our fallen and their families. 
    • Whenever we see a person in a military uniform, we can say, “Thank you for serving our country and keeping us safe.”
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