This post is a bit different than what I normally share. It isn’t about gardening, chickens or children. It isn’t about homesteading or homeschooling. It isn’t about feeding our family healthy meals.
And yet it’s about all of those things.
Part of why I’m able to write about all these things that we do is because we live in a country where we have freedom to do things like choose the best educational environment for our children. We live in a country where opportunities abound. We live in a country where someone can start a business writing on the internet that helps support her family.
A big part of why we have these freedoms and opportunities is because there are other people who have given up some level of freedom to help protect the freedoms the rest of us enjoy. It takes a special person to do that.
Our family has deep appreciation for those who choose to serve in our military. We have seen first hand the commitment and sacrifice it takes to be in the military. It’s hard…on the individual and the family. Carl’s parents were both in the Army in the mid ’60s. His dad later joined the Navy and gave 20 years of service as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Carl’s brother also served in the Navy on a submarine – three months out, three months in.
Next month, our community is gearing up for one of the most amazing things it does every year to honor those who have served and been wounded. But, it’s not just about honoring those who are wounded. It’s a time of honoring all who are serving or have served.
There is a field in town and every May there are about 600 US flags flown. Our family helps put them out. All the flags are purchased (to help fund the Warrior’s Weekend) in honor of someone. It’s fun to see the families come out and share their stories of who the flag is for. It’s an amazing sight to see and every time we pass by we talk about what those flags represent.
Of course, this is a huge organized thing but there are many ways to honor those who serve or served in the military without being part of an organized event. Here are some ideas…
1. Be kind – No one has a perfect job. No one agrees with their boss 100% of the time. Most of the time when we don’t like a decision our boss makes we might grumble or complain or even look for another job. It’s not that simple in the military. If you don’t like something about our military, don’t complain to the guy in uniform who is going into the store to buy milk. He probably doesn’t make any of the decisions. He doesn’t deserve to hear your complaints, neither does his wife or children. Save those conversations for letters to your Congressmen, Senators and the President.
2. Be Helpful – If you know of a military family whose spouse is deployed, help them out. I know they probably won’t ask and they’ll appear to have it all together. Military people are like that. But a mowed lawn, a meal or a few hours of babysitting would be such a blessing.
3. Be a Listener -Nothing tells someone they are important more than listening to them. Several times Benjamin has gone with Carl to an assisted living facility to do an activity with the residents. It’s fun to hear him repeat the stories of the men he worked with. I’m sure having a 13 year old boy helping and listening was good for these men but it was probably even more of a blessing for Benjamin. He knows a part of history that he’ll never learn in a book.
6. Send Cookies – I know you know someone, who knows someone, who is deployed. They need cookies. Or notes. Or a simple care package that reminds them that people back home think about them and appreciate them.
5. Say “Thank You” – We have no idea where we would be without the sacrifice of those who chose to protect our rights. They deserve to hear Thank You every once in a while. You don’t have to go on and on and embarrass them. A simple, “Thank you for your (or your spouse’s) service to our country” will be just fine.
One more thing, I was recently contacted by Direct Energy letting me know about a new program they have for those in the military and veterans. I don’t know a whole lot about Direct Energy (we live in the country and use an energy co-op) but after looking over their site and their program, I agreed to share it with you guys. This is the first time I’ve ever shared with you something I haven’t actually tried and loved. Yeah, the program looks THAT good. And you can be assured I’m sharing this information with everyone I know who is a veteran or active military.
Here is what Direct Energy has to say about the program…
“At Direct Energy, we are committed to giving back to those who have given so much to our country. That’s why we have recently launched the military portal, a dedicated space where military personnel can find discounted energy rates for their home energy needs. Plus, once you’re a Direct Energy Customer, you’ll have access to our on time bill payments rewards program, Refer-a-Friend Program, easy, on the go Online Account Manager and more.
To be eligible for the discounted military rates, you must enter your valid ID into our portal. Once it verifies, you will then be directed to a dedicated military plans page. You will then see plans available in your area.”
Thank you, Direct Energy, for sponsoring this discussion.
How do you honor those who serve or served in our military?