Even though I'm a day late, we're going to talk about some tangible things you can do to say "thanks" to those currently serving our country. It's obviously important to express our gratitude to those who have served in the past; here are a few ideas for things you can do for those in the military right now.
- Write a letter. This is a good one if you're like me and just enjoy sending letters. I also like this one for kids; it's all well and good to talk to kids about our soldiers, but having them write a letter- complete with illustrations- gives them a more personal connection and opens up all kinds of conversations with them about exactly what kind of sacrifice our service members are making for us. For this one, I like A Million Thanks.
- Send a care package. If you want to go up a level from a letter, check out Operation Gratitude. They've got information on everything from how to organize a collection drive to suggestions on what pack in your package. I think this would make a nice family project.
- Fulfill a Wish. The USO is a terrific resource for information on things like volunteering your time, different programs supporting our troops in which you can get involved, and employer donation matching, but what I really like is their USO Wishbook. They've basically compiled a list of different gifts you can purchase for service members; for example, for deployed troops you can send a Comfort Food Package for $15, A World of Words, also $15 (books!), Pocket-Sized Photo Memories for $25 (a photo book designed specifically to fit in their uniform), or A Phone Call Home for $25, just to name a few. Maybe you want to do something for a Wounded Warrior (a little more expensive, but I don't think anyone can argue the fact that it's not right to support soldiers while deployed, then leave them to fend for themselves when they return home). For $150, Recovery Along the River helps "send wounded, ill or injured female service members on a positive, recreational trip that will help them improve their family relationships and provide them with a temporary sanctuary free of stress and uncertainty." There are plenty of other Wishbook opportunities, as well.
Honestly, there are so many ways to give and express our thanks, I don't think any of us have any excuse not to reach out and do something. Sharing a touching Veteran's Day message on Facebook is great- now how about we all go out and back up what we're saying. Write a letter, send a care package, spend a measly $15 to lift a soldier's spirits.
And don't forget to thank our veterans.