By Shelle Michaels
When we think of May, we often think of Mother's Day and graduation as reasons to celebrate, but we can’t forget that May is National Military Appreciation Month. It started as a simple idea: to honor, remember, recognize, and appreciate all military personnel--those on active duty in all branches of the services, the National Guard and Reserves plus retirees, veterans, and all of their families--well over 90 million Americans and more than 230 years of our nation’s history.
What can you do to express your thanks? The sky truly is the limit.
- You can start by displaying both American flags and POW/MIA flags from May 1 through Flag Day on June 14. Let’s wave flags in front of homes and at all businesses and tie yellow ribbons everywhere.
- Teach your children about history: We are slowly losing our connection to our own American history. Names like Pearl Harbor, San Juan Hill, Civil War, and Normandy are rapidly losing their significance to the general American population, particularly our youth.
- Do a favor for a neighbor who’s a veteran.
- Retirement homes are full of Korean, Vietnam and WWII veterans. Pull up a chair and visit. Let them talk about their glory days and thank them!
- Remember the families of deployed service people. Do they need their yard mowed? Could the parent left behind need a night out from the 24/7 parenting role? Could they use an ear or a helping hand? See how they are doing and really mean it!
- Be involved in the process of the university students leaving for and returning from the war. The young war vets are now changed forever and could use your help in the transition back into life as a student.
- Support your troops and lift their spirits by sending them a special note from home; contact your local family support office and drop the letters off there if you do not have an address for a known soldier.
- Study the history of our Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. Review and practice flag protocol.
- Stop into your local VFW or American Legion to say “hello and thanks!” Be willing to stay and talk for a while.
- Approach a serviceperson in uniform and extend your hand, smile, and let them know how much you appreciate your freedom!
Thanks to all of our service people and their families – you are appreciated!
Shelle Michaels is a North Dakota Army National Guard volunteer.