Memorial Day is a special time to honor those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s also the perfect opportunity to thank our veterans, family members and friends of the fallen, and all men and women who currently serve. Here a few ways you can make a difference.
Help Veterans Make History.
Created by Congress in 2000, the Veterans History Project collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. You can participate as an interviewer, working with a veteran to share his or her story, or as a donor, submitting a collection of original artwork, military journals and diaries, or personal correspondence on behalf of a veteran. The project provides a simple, 4-step kit you can use to prepare for and conduct your interview, and ultimately submit your contributions to the Library of Congress. If that sounds inspiring, you can go even further by working with local high school educators to collect even more stories as students in the 10th grade and above are eligible to participate.
Spend Some Time Serving Those Who Serve.
Volunteer for the USO. The USO provides programs, entertainment and services at more than 180 USO locations worldwide. Their mission is simple— strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country. Each year, USO volunteers provide hundreds of thousands of hours of service, from welcoming home deployed service members, to providing support for individual service members and their families at USO centers. Learn how you can help. Short on time, but willing to contribute? The USO recently surpassed its goal of collecting 1.4 million messages of support—one for each active-duty service member. You can make a difference in just a few minutes when you write one of your own.
Donate Goods. Raise Funds. Lift Spirits.
Do you have a vehicle you’re not using much? Are you thinking about selling it? Consider donating it to The Military Order of the Purple Heart, a national organization of combat-wounded veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart. Your donation goes directly to financial and educational support for veterans and legal representation for veterans’ claims. They will also pick up clothes and home goods from your home. You can help provide emergency assistance too, and improve the morale of our troops and their families through Operation Homefront. Help by raising funds locally, helping soldiers directly, donating goods or services or participating in Team Operation Homefront, the organization’s series of fundraising endurance events. And next time you’re buying items online, consider purchasing one of the items on the organization’s wish list. Honor Flight flies veterans to Washington, DC to visit memorials built in honor of their service. Top priority is given to seniors and terminally ill veterans. Donating is a great way to help a veteran see firsthand the nation’s gratitude.
Lend a Helping Hand to the Family Down the Street.
At the very local level, you can honor our military service members and their families with a simple gesture of kindness. Help them create a photo album or scrapbook to share with their children or grandchildren. Or offer to help with everyday, or seasonal tasks around the home—this DIY guide has several ideas. You can encourage your own children to create and decorate a thank-you letter or memorial card to share, or simply visit your local VA hospital, and spend some time with our heroes, listening to their stories. For many, that may be the greatest Memorial Day gift of all.
Find more ways to volunteer while honoring our heroes. Use keyword "veterans.”