3 Ways to Support Military Families

Patriotism is a term used to describe fierce support or loyalty to a country. While patriotism can be displayed in many different meaningful ways, joining the military is one of the most honorable. Behind every military hero is a military family trying their best to function despite the absence. Fortunately, there are ways to help. Show your patriotism by serving the families of those who serve. Here’s how:

  1. Take Action

Whether a spouse is deployed, a family has been reassigned to a base in your city, or a newly enlisted cadet is away in boot camp, a helping hand goes a long way.

Below are a few proactive ideas:

  • For Deployments:

o Babysit

-Many spouses of military members are forced to assume the role of a single parent during deployment. Responsibilities quickly mount and parenthood can become stressful. Offer to babysit while mom or dad catches up on sleep, runs errands, or takes a mental break.

o Be a Friend

-Deployments can be isolating. This is when friendships matter most. Be a sounding board, a stress reliever and a shoulder to cry on. Don’t forget to add some fun into the mix.

o Do Chores

-Yard work, errands, and daily chores are an extra burden on top of the emotional distress that spouses feel during deployments. Schedule a recurring time to stop by and step up. Be consistent, punctual, and helpful.

  • For Reassignments:

o Offer the family a tour of their new city

o Introduce them to your friends to help them feel welcomed and at home in their new surroundings.

o Inform them of “the best”: the best schools, gyms, restaurants, childcare, and other establishments.

  • For Boot Camps:

o Send a care package to the family. Family care packages can include spa treatments to relax, self-help books on how to cope with military life, or gift cards that will help ease the transition.

o Send letters. Write a letter of encouragement to the family. Let them know that you admire all they do to support their service member and their country, because families serve too!

o Help the children (younger siblings, nieces/nephews, daughters/sons). Most service members have children who they regularly spend time with. While you can’t (and shouldn’t) replace their role, you can be a representative for them. Be present at the sporting events, birthday parties, and important moments that their hero is unable attend. Bring a small gift from their soldier to spread extra cheer.

  1. Be Mindful

The emotions and stress levels of military families are understandably elevated during periods of separation. Those who are around them sometimes struggle to find the balance of being supportive, without being intrusive. When dealing with sensitive issues like deployments, it can be difficult to know the right things to do and say. Try following these guidelines:

  1. Avoid equating deployments with business trips. Military members often face danger, uncertainty, and harsh conditions while away. Their families are in a constant state of worry, and are more than likely dealing with a different type of stress than most civilian families experience during short-term business trips. Remember that it is possible to sympathize without comparison.

  2. Be selective about the questions you ask. Keep in mind that some information is personal, some topics are sensitive, and timing is everything.

  3. Give families plenty of space and time to connect before (and after) deployments or assignments. While you may be eager to visit the departing (or returning) service member, his/her family is probably rushing to squeeze in as much quality time as possible. Try to give them a month (before and after) to enjoy the intimate family time that they so desperately need.

  4. Be Charitable

Don’t fret if you don’t personally know a soldier; you can still help. Visit the charities below to help tend to these wonderful military families:


Military men and women courageously put their lives on the line to protect the country, freedoms and citizens that they love. Their patriotism is not only noble, but also sacrificial. Their service puts a strain on their bodies, their mental health, and the family members they are forced to leave at home. The least we can do it show our patriotism by caring for the families who send their heroes off to care for us.

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5 Ways to Support Our Veterans

 

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.

Donate

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.

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5 American Destinations You Need to Visit

Everyone places emphasis on traveling abroad to experience the wonders of the world, but don’t forget about the power of learning about and experiencing the culture in your own country too. There is so much more to discover and explore in your native country that you may never realize until you embark on the journey yourself. The United States of America has some of the most gorgeous landscapes and iconic landmarks, so take advantage of everything in your own country to find an adventure in your homeland. Here are 9 American destinations you need to visit. 

The French Quarter

Make sure to get your taste of southern charm by visiting the French Quarter. This unique area of the U.S. is rich with history in music and southern culture, and it is a necessary destination for anyone looking to soak in some of the south’s most iconic destinations.

Times Square

Experience the electric energy and hustle and bustle of the Big Apple and launch yourself into the middle of the commotion. Visiting Time Square is an experience unlike any other, so become a part of the crowd and feel the heartbeat of the city that never sleeps.

Mount Rushmore

This international tourist attraction is perhaps the largest artistic representation of American ideals and is a must-see to check off your bucket list. Gaze in awe at the faces of four of the United States’ most prominent presidents against the backdrop of the western hills.

Big Sur

This rugged stretch of California’s coast is one of America’s most beautiful treasures. Explore the spectacular views and towering ancient forests along the western side of the country. The scene is pure magic.

Route 66

Also known as the Main Street of America, Route 66 passes through seven of the country’s middle states and was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. Because of its influence on the United States’ culture, Route 66 should be a destination on every American traveler’s list.

America is filled with all kinds of history and jaw-dropping scenes, so make sure you get a taste of all that your homeland has to offer and learn about the culture of the United States. These 5 American destinations are just the start of the unending list of places to visit in the U.S. 

Theron and Darlene Nelson5 American Destinations You Need to Visit
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Show Your Patriotism All Year Long

With the Fourth of July, there often comes a huge surge of patriotism. This holiday brings us a sense of pride and allegiance to Old Glory. But for some of us, the Fourth of July is just not enough. We are bursting with national pride every day, and we want everyone to know. These are just a few ways to show your patriotism all year long.

Fly the Flag

The flag is a symbol of history, natural pride, and freedom. So don’t be afraid to fly the flag all year long. Just don’t forget to follow proper flag etiquette and take care of your flag. You can also fly your flag in non-traditional ways. You can buy bumper stickers, emblems, pins, or even shirts with the flag printed on it.  

Become an Active Citizen

Become a part of your community. There are dozens of way to give to your country to make it a better place for everyone. You can volunteer at soup kitchens, charities, and events. Get to know the people in your community. You can become a public figure by serving on a local council or becoming a representative of a local movement. Be involved in your community and always vote. Voting is one of our major rights, so don’t waste it.

Stay Educated

You should also know what is going on in the country. Stay educated on what great things your country is doing and educate your friends and family. Too often people are weighed down by negative articles and stories, so it’s imperative to remind people what makes this country so great. Great passion for your country can a source of inspiration for others.

Your country has been good to you, now it’s time to be good to your country. What are some ways you stay patriotic all year long?

 

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Top Three Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

There is no shortage of historic sites, breathtaking landmarks, and enthralling museums in our nation’s great capital. That said, when you only have a couple of days to explore such a rich and vast city as Washington, D.C., you need to narrow down your list to the top three things you absolutely cannot miss. Far and away, these three sites and activities take the cake when it comes to touring Washington, D.C. for the first time—or the hundredth time.

The Lincoln Memorial

An integral part of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Lincoln Memorial is perhaps one of the world’s most recognizable statues. In case you’re not quite sure what the Lincoln Memorial is, it’s a monument built specifically to honor the 16th President of the United States. It stands (sits, really) tall and proud at 99 feet tall.

Bonus: Because it’s a part of the National Mall, it’s within walking distance of many of the other most notable monuments in Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art

Another absolute must on the list of things to do while in Washington, D.C., checking out the National Gallery of Art is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for the whole family. It’s open to the public, and unlike many other art museums, it is completely free to enter. In its halls, the National Gallery of Art boasts some of the most renowned and admired works from all over the world. From Rembrandt to Raphael, Van Gogh to Matisse, there are thousands of works waiting to capture your heart and imagination.

The National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is actually a part of the larger Smithsonian Institution. It is by far one of the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C. Featuring 23 main exhibition galleries and several special events throughout the year, the National Air and Space Museum always has something on the docket to delight kids and adults of all ages.

Of course, there are dozens more attractions throughout the Washington, D.C. area, but these are the top three you absolutely cannot leave D.C. without seeing first.

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