From Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day to National Popcorn Day (yes, those are two “real” American holidays), there’s always something to celebrate in the good ol’ U-S of A. Few other days, though, are as important as National Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Saturday in May.
Thanks to the efforts of President Harry Truman and Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, Armed Forces Day was established in 1949 as a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service. On May 21, join your community in saying “Thank You” to service men and women near or far, with one of these five creative ideas!
1. Send Expired Coupons to Families Overseas
I know what you’re thinking…”You want me to send my junk mail to military families overseas? Junk mail?!” Before you get your coupons in a crumple, hear me out. Military families can use expired coupons for up to six months after the expiration date in overseas commissaries (which are like giant grocery stores on a military base). These coupons help families offset the sometimes steep costs of living abroad. Makes “cents,” right? Here’s how to mail your expired coupons overseas and tips for sending the right kinds of coupons.
2. Make It A Star-Spangled Kind of Day
Fly the stars and stripes…EVERYWHERE. From your car window to your front door, there’s never been a better time to show off your red, white, and blue. (Besides on the 4th of July. Definitely bring it all back out for the 4th!) You can even channel your inner child and paint your cheeks!
3. Donate Time or Money
You can tell what’s important to a person by how they spend two very valuable things: their time and money. Show your support by donating to an Armed Forces charity like Folds of Honor, or contact your local Disabled Veterans of America chapter and sign up to donate a little elbow grease. There are veterans throughout your city who need help picking up groceries, doing yard work, or getting to a doctor’s appointment. They need YOU!
4. Put Your “Design on a Dime” Skills To Use
Military families are everywhere, even in your apartment building! Offer your interior design skills to help them make their apartment feel like home sweet home. They may be a military family renting furniture and could use some help rearranging their living room, or perhaps they need a new wreath and doormat to make things feel cozy. (See? Binge watching HGTV really pays off!)
5. Host a Care Package Collection Drive
Together, you and your apartment neighbors could gather some pretty awesome care package goodies! Think toiletries, snacks, movies, etc. If you’ve never sent a care package overseas, the easiest way to do so is through an organization like Operation Gratitude. Help them fill care packages by hosting a donation collection drive at your workplace or in your apartment building. Fill out a quick form and they’ll send you everything you need to get started, including downloadable flyers!
On May 21, 2016, show your support for the men and women of our Armed Forces by simply taking a moment to say “Thanks.” It’s a word many people don’t hear often enough. You can learn more about what daily life is like for an active member of the military by watching “Life On the Move: A Soldier’s Story” by CORT furniture rental and getting to know Josh, an active member of the military.