As I relaxed on my porch, drinking coffee, it crossed my mind how privileged I am. My blessings are uncountable. Conversely, one of my greatest blessings is my freedom. I owe this to our dedicated soldiers.

Compare our coziness and comfort this season to dirty, dusty, dingy and dry conditions of the Middle East. While we mingle and laugh with our friends and families at parties, they are constantly looking over their shoulders counting on their sister or brother soldier to watch their back.

May is National Military Appreciation month. Congress chose this month to ensure the nation was given a chance to publicly express their gratitude for the successes and sacrifices made by our soldiers.  Within the month of May there are quite a few military related national observances:

Armed Forces Day

Observed: Celebrated yearly on the 3rd Saturday in the month of May.

This is a day set aside to pay tribute to both women and men who served the United States armed forces. It was initially designed to supersede the days celebrating each service, but those days are still observed. Many events across the United States take place on this day to honor American soldiers who served their country in times of war and peace. Those who are honored on this day include individuals who serve the Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Air Force. Activities and events may include:

• Themed motorcycle rides.
• Different educational activities that educate children about the armed forces.
• Large parades.
• Multi-service military displays in areas open to the public.

Memorial Day

Observed: Celebrated on the last Monday in the month of May.

This is the most renowned holiday out of the May military-themed ceremonies. It started after the civil war to pay tribute to Americans who died while serving in the country’s Armed Forces. Many Americans observe this day by participating in parades, holding family gatherings and visiting memorials or cemeteries. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

Military Spouse Day

Observed: Traditionally set for the Friday just before Mother’s Day.

This is an important day set aside to recognize the sacrifices, contributions, and support of the spouses of the Armed Forces. American’s military spouses are without a doubt the strength of the families who encourage our troops during deployment, reset, mission and reintegration. They are the quiet heroes who are vital to the strength of our nation and who equally serve our country.

Admittedly, spending years scared for the life of a loved one takes a toll on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being, so military spouses will undeniably be grateful for your support. How you decide to mark this day is up to you, just find a way to show these people the compassion and respect they deserve.

Conclusion

I would like to say “Thank you” to military members present, past and future. We appreciate all that you do to protect our country.

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