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Thank You For Your Service

Thank You For Your Service

Melissa R. Rich, Ph.D.

Yesterday was Memorial Day and, for a lot of people, I think the meaning has gotten lost. This holiday began in the years after the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. The purpose is to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

I had the privilege of spending 4 years in the Panama Canal Zone when I was growing up. At that time, the CZ was still a U.S. territory and there were over 20 military installations there. My parents were missionaries and we got along well with the military folks – they moved as much as we did!

I am grateful beyond words for the sacrifices these brave men and women have made to preserve our freedom – and many of them continue to make them currently. They have my sincere gratitude and support.

I am also thankful for military families – the spouses and children who are often forgotten. The military lifestyle isn’t an easy one and it can take a toll on families. Some of the issues they can struggle with are:

  • Financial – few people go into military service to get rich

  • Work stress – the jobs performed by the armed forces are important and needed, but can also be stressful – for the service person and their families

  • Deployments – being gone for weeks or months at a time, even with Skype and FaceTime, can take a toll on relationships

  • Isolation – it can be difficult to make social connections with the frequent moves, and being away from family and friends is never fun

So how can we show support for these families and let them know how much we appreciate them? So glad you asked! I have some suggestions for that below:

  • Pray for them – pray for the safety of the deployed parent and the family who stayed behind

  • Get to know a military family and be a support system for them when a spouse is deployed – mow their lawn, run some errands, help put up Christmas lights, etc.

  • Invite a military family (especially if one of the parents is deployed) over for holiday meals and activities

  • Foster a pet – often single service men and women may need someone to care for their cat or dog while they’re overseas

  • Write notes – express, in writing, how much their service means to you and send them encouragement and support

If you’d like to take it a step furthers I’m listing some websites that will allow you to get involved and be helpful.

  • Adopt a Soldier -

  • Angel Bakers -

  • Operation Gratitude -

If you or your family is active or retired military, know that I appreciate all the sacrifices you have made for our country. Thank you for your service.

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