Honoring Our Heroes: A Look at Military Appreciation Month

May is Military Appreciation Month. This year as we begin to prepare for summer, let’s all take a moment and look at what Military Appreciation Month is, how and why it came to be, and why it is so important that we treat it with as much respect and ceremony as any other monthly observation.

On June 14, 1775, to address the need of common defense against tyrannical British forces, the Second Continental Congress authorized the raising of the Continental Army. Thus began an almost 242-year tradition of military service in support of America and her ideals. The men and women of our military service are volunteers and participants in an ideal that America, her traditions, and her people are worth protecting.

In 1999 Senator John McCain, himself a well-known veteran and POW during the Vietnam War, introduced Senate Resolution 33 In memorial to this ideal of service. The resolution had resounding support from veteran service organizations as well as members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Thus Military Appreciation Month came to be.

Why It’s Important

Military Appreciation Month is a time when we can reflect on the great history of our service men and women. May contains quite a few traditional military-related holidays, including Loyalty Day, Victory in Europe (or VE) Day, and Armed Forces Day. We end May with one of our most somber holidays; Memorial Day. On this day we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice; they gave their lives in defense of this nation.

Today, with over 2 million active duty and reserve military personnel fighting a prolonged and difficult war on terrorist threats that aim to destroy the very fabric of our freedom, recognition and appreciation for the efforts of our military have never been more important or deserving. Many of our troops never come home; still more come home with severely debilitating injuries. Roughly 11 percent suffer from PTSD, and according to the VA a veteran commits suicide every 65 seconds. Think about that; by the time you finish reading this two veterans will have taken their lives.

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What You Can Do This Year

It’s become sort of cliché to say that a holiday is not a day off, but rather a day on. I hope you enjoy the beginning of summer with grill-outs and family fun. However, I would ask that as we recognize Military Appreciation Month we remember the outstanding citizens who answered their country’s call to protect us and our way of life, and what it cost them. Also take a moment and look up the story of our Founding Fathers and what they sacrificed for all of us. Take a look at our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Only by sharpening the sword from time to time can you understand why so many patriots over the years have died for their country. America is unique, and it is great because of its uniqueness. But most of all, our country is the paradigm of a free nation, and that is something truly worth dying for. I hope for each and every one of you a thoughtful and blessed month!