United States military personnel serve both domestically and abroad. Active-duty personnel are following in the footsteps of retired veterans and protecting the freedoms of their fellow Americans while also playing a vital role in protecting millions of non-Americans across the globe.
United States military personnel make myriad sacrifices every day. Recognition of those sacrifices is just one of the many ways Americans can show their appreciation for the military, even during the era of social distancing.
• Help a veteran. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2019 there were 17.4 million military veterans living in the United States. More than half of those veterans are 65 or older. As difficult as social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven for everyone, perhaps no group has sacrificed more than men and women over 65, millions of whom have been separated from their families. Aging men and women spent a year or more isolated at home to protect themselves from a virus that public health officials acknowledged was especially lethal to people over 65. Adults who want to show their appreciation for military veterans can reach out to local veterans’ organizations and offer to lend a hand. Such organizations may be delivering meals to vulnerable veterans, driving veterans to appointments to see their doctors or get vaccinated or organizing events for veterans who have already been vaccinated. Pitching in to help with such efforts is a great way to show veterans their efforts are still appreciated, even if it’s been decades since they last served.
• Help a military family. Data from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense indicates that there were roughly 1.3 million active-duty military personnel in 2018. Many of those service members serve overseas for months at a time. Their families back home can use a helping hand even in the best of times, but they might be especially needy while confronting the pandemic. Though vaccination projections suggest hundreds of millions of Americans will be fully vaccinated by mid-summer, in the meantime neighbors can help local military families handle life at home. Invite a local military family over for a weekly meal, offer to take kids to a sports practice if it’s safe to do so or help out with chores like mowing the lawn or washing the car.
• Donate to charities that serve the military. Adults who have not been vaccinated and are hesitant to be around others can still show their appreciation for military service members. Various organizations help both active-duty military and veterans, and donating to such charities can be a great way to help an excellent cause. If you’re unsure about which organization to support, visit Charity Navigator at charitynavigator.org. Charity Navigator evaluates hundreds of thousands of charitable organizations and can be an invaluable resource for prospective donors.
Veterans and active military personnel deserve support. There are various ways for people to express that support, even as the world continues to confront the pandemic.