Memorial Day and Veterans Day aren’t the only occasions during the year when we remember the people who serve our country in the Armed Forces. May is Military Appreciation Month. What a wonderful way to start the summer, by honoring the men and women who keep the United States safe!
Before your family sits down for a Memorial Day barbecue, here are some of the fine ways we’ve found to honor veterans and active-duty members of the military:
- Volunteer to help build, refurbish or maintain veterans’ memorials in your community. Virtually every community has lost citizens to war, and has honored their sacrifice by placing a memorial in a public place. Often, these monuments need cleaning and repair. At Brookdale Hospice in Placentia, California, our staff partnered with local Southern California communities to care for Veteran Appreciation Walls.
- Ask your child’s school to mark the month with a Military Memory Day that gives veterans in the community the chance to speak about their military service. The Brookdale community in Easley, South Carolina, is hosting a ceremony for residents and their families. Participating veterans will share their military memories and receive a ball cap commemorating their military branch.
- Set up a Missing Man table in the lobby of your local library, office building, community center or town hall. At Brookdale Heritage Plaza in Albany, Oregon, staff are borrowing the time-honored military tradition of setting up a table in honor and memory of fallen or missing service members.
- Make a donation to the nonprofit Honor Flight network, which provides free transportation for veterans to visit the Washington, D.C. monuments and memorials dedicated to honoring their service. Or, you can volunteer to become an Honor Flight guardian who assists veterans throughout the trip process. Many Brookdale communities participate in Honor Flights, like Linda Pekarsky, a registered nurse and executive director of Brookdale Summerfield, who helped found a hub in her city.
- Spend some quality time with a veteran. Chances are, you personally know at least one veteran you can visit or do something special for this month. If you don’t, consider contacting your local veteran’s organization or a senior citizen community to find out what’s being done in your area to honor veterans during this important month.