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The month of May is characterized by six national observances which highlight the contributions of those who have served.

National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) is celebrated every May and is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity. NMAM honors the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom.  The month of May is characterized by six national observances which highlight the contributions of those who have served.

  • Loyalty Day (May 1st)
  • Public Service Recognition Day (May 6th – 12th )
  • Victory in Europe Day (May 8th)
  • Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 11th)
  • Armed Forces Day (May 19th)
  • Memorial Day (May 28th)

I, myself, had the opportunity to experience this appreciation in a very personal way, about one month short of the “official” month of remembrance.  On March 31, 2018, I was standing at the place, where my brother had died a hero defending his Seabee camp, 50 years prior…to the minute.  I made the pilgrimage with a small group of families that lost loved ones that day. That was a surreal moment in time that will never be forgotten.

Most of us, especially yours truly, often suffers from a chronic condition known as OOSOOM (Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind).  As long as there is not an active war being televised on TV, or there hasn’t been a direct attack a la 911, or we don’t hear about the heroics of a police officer being killed in the line of duty, our thoughts will be mostly centered on those things that are personal to us at the moment.

Even when a day such as Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day takes place, many appreciate the day off and hardly give a thought to what it represents.

Even when a day such as Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day takes place, many appreciate the day off and hardly give a thought to what it represents.  It is, I suppose, easier for those who have had a dog in the hunt so to speak.  Having a brother killed in battle makes those days personal.  But it should be just as meaningful and emotional thinking about all the families that have had similar experiences.  Children without fathers or mothers, wives without husbands, husbands without wives. And there are so many. Just the top 4 of the 20th Century:

  • World War I –  116,516
  • World War II – 405,399
  • Korean –   36,516
  • Vietnam –   58,209

Total KIA since the Revolutionary War?  1,354,664+ Wounded?  Almost another 1.5M.

 

A memorial display of rows of boots with American flags in them at Roger Williams Park. Taken by Matthew Huang. Roger Williams Park, Providence, United States.

 

…because of those sacrifices, we live in the greatest country in the world…let us remember and give thanks to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for those they didn’t know.

That is a lot of heartache and pain.  And because of those sacrifices, we live in the greatest country in the world.  So if for even one month of the year, let us remember and give thanks to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for those they didn’t know.

Jesus Christ himself said it best as captured in John 15:13.  “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

BY: JOHN HODEL  /  Founder + President