NATIONAL VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES MONTH
Show your appreciation for the contributions and sacrifices made on behalf of our nation.
November is well known for two important holidays—Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. But not everyone realizes that the entire month is a cause for gratitude and thankfulness. November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, which was created to show appreciation for veterans, service members, and military families.
The history behind National Veterans and Military Families Month
The Armed Services YMCA created Military Family Appreciation Month in 1993 to honor the commitment and sacrifices made by families of those serving in our military. Since then, the White House has issued proclamations extending Veterans Day commemorations and declaring November to be National Veterans and Military Families Month. In 2021, President Joe Biden said the month should be seen as a chance to “show our appreciation to the spouses, partners, children, caregivers, and survivors of our service members and veterans for their selfless sacrifice on behalf of the nation.”
Why it’s important to show your support
Many of us have veterans in our families and are aware of sacrifices they’ve made to protect us and our country. Not all of their sacrifices are as obvious to family members though—especially if they’re stationed in other countries or deployed in combat zones. And sometimes we learn of their sacrifices too late. The USO reported in June 2022 that suicide rates among active-duty military personnel and veterans climbed to 30,177 since September 11, 2001, and were four times higher than the number of deaths that occurred during military operations during the same time period. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantines and social isolation added to the problem, with a 16% increase in military suicides in 2020.
More than 2.6 million people make up America’s military families, according to the United Services Organizations (USO). The support they provide their service members is essential—but can be demanding. They manage the home front when husbands, wives, partners, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons or daughters are deployed. They may go through long periods without person-to-person contact with their loved one. They pack up everything and move to a new base, state, or country when their service member is transferred—and repeat the process multiple times throughout that family member’s military career, saying goodbye to the people, jobs, schools, and communities they’ve gotten to know. Their service to their family’s service member and their country demonstrates resilience, dedication, and strength.
Ideas for showing support for veterans and/or military families
If you want to go further than saying a sincere “thank you for your service” to veterans and military families for the contributions and sacrifices they’ve made, here are some ideas:
Donate. Find an organization that resonates with you on the way it supports veterans, service members, and/or their families. Some possibilities might be Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), USO Operation Phone Home, and Operation Write Home.
Attend a Veterans Day event. Show up and show your support at a local parade or service for veterans.
Hire a veteran or military family member. If you’re looking for someone to fill a position at your business, consider partnering with military advocacy organizations and posting to a job board that targets military families.
Offer support. If one of your neighbors is a veteran or a military family member who could use some help with babysitting, yardwork, or other tasks, offer them your support.
Visit a veteran at a nearby VA hospital or nursing home. Call in advance to find out what protocols you’ll need to follow.
Search for more ideas online at Veteran.com, Military.com, and USO.org.
If you’re committed to showing your support and gratitude to veterans and military families this November for National Veterans and Military Families Month, we say to you: “Tango Yankee” (a military code phrase for thank you).
Thanks for checking out the blog.
Gregory Armstrong , CFP®