The American Dream. This is something that we find ourselves lucky enough to live out every day. Although this took a lot of hard work to achieve on our end, it truly would not have been possible without the sacrifices of the men and women who protect our country in the Armed Forces. Many American Veterans find themselves in their toughest battle yet once they return home from active duty. Some may be injured and learning to live with a disability, others may be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental illnesses. It is important to not only recognize the sacrifices made by those who have served in our military but also to honor and support them once they have returned.
Here are five different ways to support our veterans:
Volunteer Your Time
If your schedule allows, volunteering and being hands-on in giving back can oftentimes be the most rewarding way to make a difference. The Wounded Warrior Project has local branches all over the country that host supporter events in their community. You can either host a supporter event or sign up to work one that is already happening. If events aren’t your style, you can also volunteer your time by giving a vet a ride. The Disabled American Veterans Association provides free medical transportation to vets through the support of volunteer drivers. Additionally, The Honor Flight Network is always actively looking for escorts to accompany senior veterans travel to Washington DC, where they visit the monuments dedicated to their service in either World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. Their mission is to honor our veterans and provide closure.
There are so many organizations that need donations in order to help the men and women who served our country. Although monetary donations are always welcome and appreciated to most foundations, there are some different donation methods if you don’t have the extra cash to spare. Do you have unused airline miles sitting there that you don’t want to go to waste? You can donate them to the Hero Miles Program. This program is sponsored by the Fisher House and their mission is to help transport family members of wounded soldiers to the hospitals and bedsides of the injured member. Another unique donation route you can do is to provide construction supplies to build homes in support of the Homes for Our Troops organization. They build homes, free of cost, for injured and disabled military members once they return home.
Send Care Packages And Letters
Many people have heard of organizations that send letters and care packages to active military members overseas, but did you know that the same kind of program is out there for veterans? Operation Gratitude sends care packages and letters of gratitude to active military but wounded military and veterans too. Their mission is to let all current and retired members of the armed forces know how thankful we are for the sacrifices they have made for our country. You can support them by donating wish list items, hosting your own collection drive for care package items, and by writing personal letters for the veterans to receive along with the care packages.
Share Their Stories
Every veteran has their own story, some have been shared and some may still be left untold. The Library of Congress wants to make sure every veteran’s story can be heard for years to come. The Veterans History Project is doing just that. The Library of Congress has been compiling the many stories from veterans who have served in any capacity, to preserve their personal accounts for future generations to learn from. If you have a relative who served or just the chance to sit down and have a conversation with a war veteran, ask to hear their story. Learning more about a veteran’s history and memories is a simple way to honor their service.
Say Thank You
The easiest, and oftentimes overlooked way to honor our veterans is by simply saying thank you. Whether you thank them in person, or in a letter of gratitude through Operation Gratitude, it makes an impact in their lives. Veterans have sacrificed more than most can imagine, and it is our job to make sure that they know how much we appreciate what they have done for our country.
No action is too big or too small when it comes to honoring our retired and disabled military members. What is important is that we make the effort to show our support and make a difference in the lives of our veterans, since they have had the greatest role in bettering our lives here in America.