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A Time to Honor Servicemembers | #lovescams | #military | #datingscams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating

By Kerry L. Erisman
Faculty Member, Legal Studies

I often hear, “Thank you for your service” when someone wants to show their military appreciation. However, I used to cringe when I was on the receiving end of that gratitude.

I know the person using that expression does so out of kindness and sincere appreciation, but those of us who have worn a military uniform don’t do it for the gratitude.

Our reasons are much deeper. We wear the uniform of our great nation to serve others, defend our nation and show our genuine love for this country.

Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world. A veteran doesn’t have that problem. – President Ronald Reagan

How Military Appreciation Month Began

May is Military Appreciation Month. In April 1999, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution requesting that the President “issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to recognize and honor the dedication and commitment of the members of the United States Armed Forces and to observe the month [of May] with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

Military Life Involves Personal Sacrifices, But It’s Worthwhile

Less than 7% of the U.S. population has ever served in the military, according to the United States Census Bureau. FiveThirtyEight notes that less than a half of one percent (0.4%) of the U.S. population currently serve.

Those who have not served in the military imagine continuous sacrifice and hardships, based on the media’s portrayal of military life. They imagine strain on our relationships and family, including the constant sacrifices that military spouses and kids endure.

But while there are definitely personal sacrifices associated with serving in the military, the positives clearly outweigh the sacrifices.

Why Join the Military?

Why do people join the military? What draws us to the military culture? There are a variety of reasons that people become servicemembers, such as family tradition, service to our country or a sense of belonging.

For example, I joined the Army because I recognized that I was not ready to attend college. So, instead of going to college and getting little out of it, I enlisted in the Army, grew up, and figured out the direction of my life.

Joining the Army after high school was the best decision I ever made, and an added benefit was being able to use my GI Bill® to attend college. The GI Bill is a tremendous benefit, and today servicemembers have the opportunity to transfer the Post-9/11 GI Bill to their spouse or children, which can lead to significant savings.

The GI Bill includes tuition, a housing allowance and payment for books. It is a benefit that can be useful when it’s combined with schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Related article: National Vietnam War Veterans Day – And What It Means

Pursuing the Next Adventure

My active-duty spouse still serves in the Army, so as we prepare for our 19th permanent change of station (PCS) this summer, our non-military friends ask us how much longer we plan to uproot our lives every two or three years. It’s funny, though, because we never looked at it as uprooting our lives. We have always looked at it as pursuing our next adventure.

Our boys, now college students, may have different sentiments, but for the most part they enjoyed each new duty station. Every military installation has a unique history and area to explore.

We made the most of every assignment by getting out and exploring the area to make the most of our time in every location. Every service has assignments that are considered undesirable. But when you speak with the people who were actually stationed there, you find out differently, and the bad reputation is usually an urban myth.

While moving to a different place is a logistical challenge, it is countered by the benefit of the incredible connections we have built. There is no team like the ones you build in the military; the lifelong friendships and deep connections are invaluable.

We can run into a former servicemember or spouse 10 years later and reconnect as if we’d seen each other yesterday. Military reunions reconnect us and cause us to remember the times we shared together, and it’s as if we were never apart. The deep bond we share as servicemembers will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Our children have benefitted from a broader perspective of knowing what it means to be part of something bigger than themselves. They have also learned that there are a wide variety of cultures and views and how to navigate and respect cultural differences.

We have all gained an understanding and appreciation that it is the quality of the time spent with loved ones that is the most important. Many families are physically present in the same room, but not really “together.”

Because we know what it is like to be apart for prolonged periods of time (such as deployments), we appreciate the time together. Most of the time, we still deal with people being on phones and gaming devices, like most other families with teenagers.

What to Do During Military Appreciation Month

According to Military.com, many restaurants and businesses offer exclusive military discounts during Military Appreciation Month. If you are a servicemember, veteran, or a member of a military family, proudly take advantage of those discounts and share them with your colleagues.

If you are a current servicemember, veteran, or military spouse attending the University, explore the military-oriented student organizations that we offer. These student organizations include:

These organizations offer the opportunity to connect with others associated with military service to our nation. Joining one or more of these student organizations will give you that military connection and sense of belonging.

If you are non-military, consider taking action to help servicemembers and their families. Invite someone over for a meal, provide a helping hand for someone whose spouse is deployed or volunteer for organizations like the United Services Organizations (USO) that support the military.

Don’t Forget Memorial Day

Finally, let’s not forget that May also includes Memorial Day, an occasion when we honor and celebrate those servicemembers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom. We certainly think about and remember them much more than on one day a year, but it’s nice to have a special day devoted to them.  After all, those special men and women are the most deserving of our military appreciation.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official website.


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