According to the Department of Defense, there are over 1.3 million men and women on active duty. Of that number, over 450,000 are overseas, both on land and sea. The National Day of the Deployed, celebrated each year on October 26, is a special day to honor veterans and these active-duty soldiers who have or are currently serving our country abroad.
The day originated in North Dakota in 2006 when a resident, Shelle Michaels Aberle, petitioned then-North Dakota Governor John Hoeven to honor U.S. military personnel who were currently deployed. She pursued creating the day on October 26 – the birthday of her cousin, Lieutenant Colonel David Hosna, who was deployed in Iraq at the time. When Hoeven later became a North Dakota senator, he was at the forefront of efforts to nationally recognize the day. All 50 states recognized the Day of the Deployed for the first time on October 26, 2012.
The Day of the Deployed is a time to pause, remember and honor veterans, military personnel and their families who have committed themselves to our nation. Here are some thoughtful ways to honor a veteran, an active-duty service member or a military family with a loved one who is deployed.
- Thank a veteran.
The United States developed a network of bases around the world after World War II, which established a U.S. presence in 150 countries. So, if you know or meet a veteran, there is a good chance that his or her military career included a deployment abroad. Thank these veterans for their service to our nation. If you personally know the veteran and he or she is comfortable talking with you, find out where he or she was deployed. Taking the time to hear a veteran’s story is an important part to continue our country’s legacy of service.
- Take a meal to a military family with a loved one who is deployed.
An easy way to support a military family who has a deployed loved one is by taking them a meal. Ask the family what kind of what food they like, and be sure to consider any food allergies. The gift of preparing a meal is a thoughtful way to let a military family know that they are not forgotten during the difficult time of deployment. You could also take this opportunity to set up a consistent meal plan for this military family to extend the opportunity into their community.
- Put together a care package.
For military families, creating a care package for their loved one who is deployed can be a positive bonding experience. It’s also a way for a military family to send a little bit of home to their loved one abroad. Military.com has great affordable care package ideas, and Support Our Troops offers ways for individuals who don’t have a loved one in the military (but still want to support a service member) to send a military care package. As Thanksgiving approaches, IFHF also has great ideas for a holiday care package.
- Send a letter or an email.
A letter is a personal way to let a service member know that he or she is appreciated. Organizations like Operation Gratitude send letters to deployed troops, new recruits and veterans. If you have a loved one deployed, send an email today to show that you’re thinking about him or her. Share family updates, send family photos and tell about what’s happening at home.
- Get involved with an organization that supports the deployed.
There are countless organizations, like Soldiers’ Angels or the many listed on CreateTheGood.org, that support deployed service members. There are many ways to support our troops. Contact one of these organizations today to see how you can get involved.
- Spread the word online with the hashtag — #DayOfTheDeployed.
You can raise awareness within your online community by using the hashtag #DayOfTheDeployed in a social media post that encourages others to spread the word in their own network to support veterans, service members and their families. The first step is awareness. You can do your part by letting others know about this unique day to honor our military.
The common theme with all these ideas is time. Give your time today to honor a veteran, service member or military family. These men and women committed their lives to our country, and we should support them when they need us the most. We cannot let the men and women of our military be forgotten. As Calvin Coolidge once said, “The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund believes in supporting service members each and every day. IFHF directly impacts the lives of service members suffering from traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions. Learn more about how IFHF helps heal these invisible wounds of war here.
Posted on October 16 2017 in Blog