Honoring Your Service Member on Days of Observance

Coast Guard Day is tomorrow, August 4. Each branch of the military has specific days of observance for those who are currently serving and have served, providing an excellent opportunity to recognize the sacrifice of current service members, Veterans and military families.  As a nonprofit that serves military families, we deeply believe in taking the opportunity to honor those who have sacrificed.

How to Honor Your Service Member

Do you have a friend or family member in the service?  Consider honoring them on the day of observance for their branch of the Armed Forces in one of the following ways.

Mark the Day on Your Calendar

With busy lives and plenty of distractions, it can be easy to forget which day observances fall on. When the new year rolls around, we like to take some time to sit down and make sure we mark those dates on our calendars. Making a note of the upcoming observance a few days in advance is also a great way to remind yourself of the event while leaving enough time to prepare a special commemoration.

Have Resources Ready 

Many of the service members with whom we work are coping with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. Significant holidays and observances can be a trigger. If you plan to celebrate the holiday or observance, always be prepared for potential triggers, and have a plan in place to respond accordingly. Keep a list of resources on hand, or create a comfortable environment for your service member to share his or her feelings.

Donate in Honor of Your Service Member

If you are financially able, consider donating to a nonprofit that helps service members, Veterans and/or their families. There are many excellent nonprofits serving members of the military and their families in a variety of ways that could use your support and would be thrilled to accept a donation in honor of your loved one. Before donating to a nonprofit, be sure to use a trusted resource like Charity Navigator to ensure that the organization is reputable.

Take Part in a Recreational Activity

How the service member or Veteran in your life will want to spend the day will vary from person to person. Make sure that your family member or friend knows that you appreciate their service and that you would like to honor them in a way that they are comfortable with. For some people, this might mean taking part in a favorite recreational activity like a round of golf, a hike to relax or even an afternoon spent at the movies. Other people may enjoy talking about their experiences or more intimate gatherings like a dinner date. Some may not want to mark the day with any type of activity, which is just fine, too.

There’s no right or wrong way to honor the service member in your life. When you see that a significant holiday or day of observance is coming up, take a few minutes to chat about their desired way to honor the occasion and devise a plan that reflects these wishes.

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