According to military.com:
Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our servicemembers - past and present. Each year the president makes a proclamation, reminding Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country.
Why May? Because May has the most days set aside for commemorating our military and their achievements, including:
- Loyalty Day (established in 1921) - May 1st
- Victory in Europe Day (commemorating the end of WWII in Europe in 1954) - May 8th
- Armed Forces Day (established in 1949) - May 19th
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day (established in 1984) - May 11th
- Memorial Day - May 28th
What is Military Appreciation Month?
It started as a simple idea; to honor, recognize and appreciate those who serve and have served and their families.
How can I participate?
If you happen to be stumped about how you can honor servicemembers for National Military Appreciation Month, one of the most direct things you can do is volunteer or donate, and there are dozens of programs to choose from. Ourmilitary.mil lists a wealth of sites dedicated to specific causes, but each one lets individuals put in time to assist servicemembers and veterans alike. We highlight a few organizations below, but you can check out the full list on the Our Military website.
Employment Assistance and Vocational Training
http://missioncontinues.org/ - The Mission Continues takes in veterans and trains them to perform community service projects. Becoming a Fellow gives a veteran access to resources that help them gain full-time employment and pursue higher education.
http://militarywarriors.org/ - The Military Warriors Support Foundation has multiple programs, but their CEOs4Heroes program connects veterans with companies who need to fill positions. They help veterans enter a variety of industries, and provide resources for companies to seek out veterans themselves.
http://www.legion.org/ - The American Legion is a widespread group with a long history. Among its many programs, they help veterans obtain employment through its Economic Commission. They assist with education, business employment, licensing ,and assistance with those without resources.
Military Family Support
http://littlepatriotsembraced.org/ - Little Patriots Embraced is an organization that focuses on the family of deployed servicemembers. They assist by providing family care packages, financial assistance, and emergency help, and more.
http://www.ourmilitarykids.org/ - Our Military Kids focuses on helping the children of servicemembers. A nonprofit helped by volunteers, they help by paying for extracurricular programs to keep kids engaged in activities to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
http://www.armedforcesfoundation.org/ - The Armed Forces Foundation has numerous projects, but they say that their largest is their Beverly Young Financial Assistance Fund. They identify military families experiencing financial hardship and help with direct financial assistance.
Help for the Wounded
http://www.pva.org/site/c.ajIRK9NJLcJ2E/b.6305401/k.BCBB/Home.htm- Paralyzed Veterans of America supports former servicemembers with impaired mobility. They focus on veterans who need help securing benefits as well as paralyzed veterans who are trying to return to work. They also provide recreational programs and community benefits.
http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ - The Wounded Warrior Project is a multi-faceted organization that focuses on wounded veterans. Their main goals are to raise awareness, entice civilians to help, develop networks between injured veterans and servicemembers, and offer direct programs and services .
http://www.vetdogs.org/ - America's VetDogs is a non-profit that focuses on putting guide dogs and service dogs in the hands of veterans. These dogs assist with those who are visually impaired, and serve as loyal companions.
Entertainment and Recreation
http://www.asymca.org/ - Armed Services YMCA has numerous programs and outlets for support, but in particular they try to give free YMCA passes to servicemembers and their families. Access to free fitness facilities improves health and quality of life.
http://www.occ-usa.org/ - Operation Care and Comfort is an outreach program that seeks to assist servicemembers through mail sent to the frontlines. They usually send letters and care packages, but will at times send other items such as tickets to sports games.
http://www.uso.org/ - The USO is one of the oldest veterans support organizations around. It excels at providing servicemembers with entertainment by way of concerts, celebrity appearances, and more.
Show your support all month to our U.S. Servicemen and women and their families.