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If you were tasked with brainstorming symbols to characterize each month of the year, what would they be? January might be a party hat, February would be a traditional red heart, March could be best described as a tulip (buried under a foot of snow,) April might be a raincloud and May would be an American Flag.

The fifth month of the year is an especially patriotic time in the United States. At the end of the month, we’ll celebrate veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day, but we have another chance to say “thank you for your service” before then.

This Saturday, May 18, is Armed Forces Day, a holiday that is always observed on the third Saturday in May. The holiday was created to help pay tribute to people of the Armed Forces. Unbeknownst to many, up until 1949, there were single day celebrations for each branch of the military. After the branches were unified under the Department of Defense, leaders thought it best to commemorate them all on one day.

For those of us who have never been involved in the military, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to imagine what time in the service must be like. Members of the military put their lives on the line to protect our freedom, so how do you genuinely say, “thank you?” The best way to get started is with a handshake, but we think we can go above and beyond when it comes to expressing our gratitude. We’ve compiled a few thank you ideas to begin the brainstorming process, with the help of Military.com:

  1. Donate your frequent flyer miles to the family of a veteran

    If you’re an avid traveler, consider donating those extra miles to a family in need. The Hero Miles Program gives airline tickets to wounded, injured and ill service members as well as their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center. Learn how to donate your miles.

  2. Hire a veteran to speak at your next event

    To say a veteran learned a few valuable lessons during their time in the military would likely be an understatement. These individuals have incredible insight about leadership, team work and persistence. The next time you are looking for a speaker, bring in a veteran for the job.

  3. Shop from a veteran-owned business

    Did you know that over 2.5 million businesses in the United States are majority-owned by veterans? Choose to support these entrepreneurs by visiting their facilities or adding them to the supply chain of your company.

  4. Invite a veteran to join you and your club

Veterans have experience turning plans into actions, leading groups and brainstorming new and innovative ideas, and many want to get involved in local service work. They are just a natural fit into the Lions community. Invite a veteran to attend your next club meeting.

These are only four of an infinite number of thoughtful ways to say, “I am so grateful for your service.” How will you thank a veteran? Let us know in the comments below!

The Lions Pride Board and Staff would like to wish all military service members and their families a Happy Armed Forces Day!

 

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