This post is brought to you by Walmart and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
Millions of American’s each year celebrate Memorial Day, and too often people forget the real reason why they get the day off. It is often confused with Veteran’s Day or some people find it difficult to think about losing a loved one during military conflict. Unfortunately, since 2001 almost 7,000 military service members have died in military service. Over 1 million servicemembers in total have died during U.S. military conflicts. Memorial Day was meant to honor all of the servicemembers who died during active military service. I’m sharing just a few of the many ways to celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who have lost their lives during military service.
What are your plans for Memorial Day this year? Many people hold holiday cookouts or get-togethers. I’ll be honest; despite the fact that I’m a veteran and I come large family of veterans, often we don’t celebrate Memorial Day like we should. My family has been exceptionally fortunate that we haven’t lost any immediate family members during military service.
Here are a few important facts that I would like to share about veterans:
- Each year nearly 400,000 military servicemembers will be discharged and return to civilian life, according to the Department of Defense. Many of those individuals will have difficulty transitioning back to civilian life and utilizing services that are meant to help them find work.
- There were nearly 450,ooo unemployed veterans in the United States according to the Department of Labor. The majority of those individuals were between 18 and 44 years of age. Unfortunately, not all military training is relevant in the civilian world, and veterans have to return to school or seek vocational education before finding gainful employment.
Here are a few ways to celebrate Memorial Day:
- Consider a donation to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The TAPS organization offers assistance to families who lost a loved one on active military duty. This year Walmart is giving a $100,000 donation to the TAPS organization so that they can help surviving family members through Casework and Emergency Assistance Programs.
- Consider donating your time or financial assistance to another organization that supports surviving family members of military members who died in the line of duty.
- Visit a wounded veteran, veterans hospital, or veterans nursing home (always ask any Veterans facility about their visitation or volunteer policy). I’ve taken my son to the local veterans nursing home to help pass out fresh flowers and flags. Some veterans receive very few visitors and appreciate something as simple as conversation. We’ve played checkers or other board games, and I enjoyed it as much as the veteran did.
- Make a care package for a military service member or veteran that you know.
- Consider donating time or financial assistance to one of the following organizations that assist military members, military families, or veterans:
- Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University
- Swords to Plowshares
- Operation Homefront
- American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program
- Hire Heroes USA
- The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine
- Farmer Veteran Coalition
One of the simplest ways to support a veteran farmer is to look for the Homegrown by Heroes label on locally grown produce. Several products from our farm carry the Homegrown by Heroes label, and veterans need to have applied to the program and have their military service verified to be part of the program.
You can help military families find resources available to them.
Here are a few programs that Walmart has to offer:
- Walmart’s Military Family Promise guarantees a job at a nearby store or Club for all military personnel and military spouses employed by Walmart and Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the United States military.
- In 2014, Walmart doubled a $20 million commitment to support veterans and their families with assistance for programs that provide job training, transition help, and education, through 2019.
- Walmart seeks to support veterans and showcase the value they bring to the workforce and our communities through initiatives such as Hiring our Heroes, Greenlight A Vet, and the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business.
- Four years ago, Walmart introduced the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, which guarantees a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who was within 12 months of active duty, with a goal of hiring 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020.
- As of now, Walmart has hired more than 170,000 veterans, and more than 22,000 have been promoted to jobs with greater responsibility.
What do you have planned for Memorial Day? Does your family celebrate the same way each year? I hope that you’ve found these suggestions for ways to celebrate Memorial Day helpful and I’d love to know if you have any suggestions of your own.