by Erin Whitehead, Marine Corps spouse
Yesterday, many Americans paused to honor those who have served and continue serving in our nation’s military. Flags were flown and prayers were said in civilian homes and backyards around the country.
But because of the nature of our lives, the military spouse community has a special understanding of the meaning behind Memorial Day. For us, it is not simply another day off work, a chance to BBQ, or the opportunity to save big bucks on a mattress or new car. It is about honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country… a sacrifice that can keep us awake at night with worry.
Sometimes, it feels as though the “civilian” community just does not get what the holiday is really about, which can feel frustrating and make us feel like we are in this alone. But the reality is that many Americans do understand the true meaning of Memorial Day. They do want to support our troops and understand, on some level, the hardships that they and their families have endured over the past 10 years of war.
But unless they’ve actually served or been a member of a military family, it’s really hard to truly “get it.” They want to do something to make sure our troops and families know how much they are appreciated… but how do they help when they don’t know what is needed?
It’s a two-way street. We have to be willing to share in what areas we can use support. We asked our social media community to share what things they think Americans could do to help out or simply show their appreciation for the sacrifices of service members and their families. We hope you will share this list with those civilians who want to show their support…because there really are a lot of them out there.
10 Ways Americans Can Support the Military Family
10) Take the time to learn what our life is really like.
There are many misconceptions about our lifestyle. The list is a mile long. Some of the most frustrating are that our spouses can return home for important events (holidays, births, all family emergencies), that once they return from deployment everything goes back to normal, and that we make a lot of money. But unless you know a family and can ask for their perspective, how do you learn more? There is no shortage of blogs written by military spouses, and they’re easy to find with a simple Google search. There are also many organizations that service military families—again, very easy to find online. And of course, you can visit www.baseguide.com to read our articles, follow us on social media, or subscribe to the magazine.
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