Veterans & Military Families Month was established in 1996 by the Armed Services YMCA, with the U.S. Government recognizing the occasion every year since. Each November, the President signs a proclamation declaring November National Veterans & Military Families Month, and with hundreds of thousands of service members deployed overseas, recognizing the daily sacrifices made by active duty, Guard, and Reserve military families has never been more important.
Excerpt from the 2020 Presidential Proclamation:
“During National Veterans and Military Families Month, we celebrate the loved ones of our country’s men and women in uniform and recognize the sacrifices they have made in support of our Nation’s heroes.”
Reach out to your local MWR or Family Services offices to discover events and services scheduled in your area.
There are many local and national services provided to show appreciation during National Veterans & Military Families Month and beyond. Here are just a few:
- Every year you should be able to download a ‘Military Family Month’ packet from the Armed Services YMCA at www.asymca.org. The packet typically contains: a Military Family Month Poster; a Message from the President; a letter from the National Executive Director of the ASYMCA; Military Family Month Program Suggestions; and Guidelines for the annual art and essay contests.
- Sesame Street for Military Families Free App – Addresses topics such as deployments, homecoming, self-expression and injuries.
- Military children can find comfort in a free custom made photo transfer quilt or pillow through this program for children of deployed service members – Operation Kid Comfort.
- Many Military Families are eligible for a free YMCA or Private Fitness membership through the YMCA- DoD Initiative with the Armed Services YMCA.
- Sears Heroes provides gift cards for military families at Home Registry Sign ups. Signups usually happen in Late Fall- Sears Heroes.
- Home Depot offers a 10% in-store discount for those with valid military ID, but the company is also recognized as an important employer of military spouses. A Home Depot employee-run resource called Military Appreciation Group, “is dedicated strictly to supporting active military associates, deployed reservists and their families” according to the Home Depot official site.
- College campuses with ROTC units may host parades featuring trainee Reserve officers marching, displaying the colors, holding drills, etc. These events may be organized on campus, or ROTC units may partner with local organizers for events in the community.
The following are just a few ways to increase awareness, and provide support to the military community:
- Donate a Thanksgiving gift to junior-enlisted members and their families through the USO-Metro’s Turkeys for Troops!
- Create a Spouse or Service Member Care Package with items that would help either ease stress during a deployment.
- Adopt-a-Soldier for the Holidays
- Create a spouse care package for them to enjoy and help reduce stress during training, deployment, and PCS moves and relocations.
- Thank an Active-Duty Member, Veteran, Military Spouse, or Military Child for their service.
- Visit war memorials with your family to teach your children the value of service.
- Fly the U.S. Flag.
- Adopt a military family for the holidays by sponsoring a Food Basket or Toys for junior enlisted military families through the ASYMCA’s Operation Holiday Joy.
- Contact your nearest military base Morale, Welfare, And Recreation (MWR) office to see what events or activities might be planned on-post honoring families including special events, contests, or discounts for local businesses or attractions. Sometimes just showing up for an event or ceremony creates a stronger bond in the community.
- Volunteer at a local chapter of a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) such as the Red Cross, AmVets, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion, etc.
- Donate professional services to military communities. Are you a professional counselor, psychologist, social worker, therapist, child care professional, or community organizer? Private and chartered organizations serving military families may need your expertise to make an impact in military communities whether active duty, Guard, Reserve, retirees, etc.
- Contact your nearest chapter of the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, Army Emergency Relief, or Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, to volunteer or participate in scheduled events to support their efforts. The winter months are prime fundraising and support time for these societies as they gear up to assist military families over the holiday season. The annual Toys For Tots drives and similar efforts held by these agencies are always in need of volunteer help.
- Visit a veteran receiving care in a VA hospital or nursing home.
- Offer a military neighbor a bit of respite with volunteer childcare to get errands accomplished or to even enjoy a few hours to recharge.
- See someone in uniform? Thank them for their service or surprise them with a free coffee, dessert or drink if they are in line behind you.
- Make a donation or volunteer with a military assistance organization like the Armed Services YMCA.
As we acknowledge and appreciate our veterans of the past and present for their noble and brave service to our nation, we offer gratitude for their sacrifice and for the security and protection of our freedoms. In honor to their commitment to liberty and country, we celebrate America’s veterans on Veterans Day, November 11. We passionately support our veterans and invite the members of our community to donate their time and make contributions to local veteran service organizations like: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Veterans (AMVETS), American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and others.
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