Tips to Help Alaskans Celebrate National Military Appreciation Month
May is Military Appreciation Month
May provides a special opportunity to honor our men and women in uniform thanks to a 1999 act of Congress declaring May as National Military Appreciation Month. Each year, the president makes a proclamation to remind Americans about the momentous sacrifices and contributions of service members to our nation. Military Appreciation Month as a whole highlights how important these selfless gifts are to our safety and liberty.
Alaskans in general (and Anchorage residents in particular) have a close relationship with our armed forces thanks to the presence of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a combined U.S. Army and Air Force facility in Anchorage with a history dating back to World War II. According to statistics from the Alaska Department of Labor, Alaska was home to 23,004 active duty military personnel as of 2013, a figure that represents about 3 percent of the state’s total population.
Here’s How You Can Help
Even though Congress’ declaration sets the tone for May, Military Appreciation Month means little if civilians don’t take up the call to action and contribute. Here are some ways that Alaska residents can help:
- Visit the National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) website. The official website for NMAM provides a wealth of tools, tips, and resources, including email greeting cards you can send to service members and links to organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services that can use your donations. The site also sells official NMAM gear and apparel, with sales proceeds going to support the Armed Forces Children’s Education Fund.
- Look around your community for opportunities to help the family of a deployed service member. Spouses and family members sometimes struggle to keep up around the house while a service member is away. Bringing over some food, offering to babysit for an afternoon, or pitching in to do a little yard work can make an enormous difference.
- Sign up to volunteer with the Alaska VA Healthcare System. Volunteering at a VA Clinic is a great way to meet service members face to face and express your gratitude through action. You can contact the Alaska VA Voluntary Service Office at 907-257-4839 or visit their website to find out more about how you can donate money or volunteer your time.
- Honor the sacrifices of those who gave their lives. Military Families United created The National Gold Star Family Registry so families and friends could compile written tributes to fallen service members and share recollections about their loved ones with others who knew them. Even if you don’t personally know anyone who died in service to the country, you can donate to help keep this outstanding project going.
- Express your gratitude. If you know a military service member or see one when you’re out and about, set aside your inhibitions and approach them to offer your thanks for their service. If you know someone who’s had a loved one die serving their country, approach them and let them know how much that person’s sacrifice means to you. According to Military Families United, you should say something like, “Thank you for your sacrifice,” rather than “I’m sorry for your loss,” since a thank-you is usually more personal and is easier to respond to.
The Law Office of William D. Cook
Here at The Law Office of William D. Cook, we recognize and appreciate the immense sacrifices and contributions of our members of the armed forces. With an office in Eagle River, just outside of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, we continually see the positive effects our service members have in Anchorage and in all of Alaska.
We thank you for your service.
Ideas to participate. (n.d.). National Military Appreciation Month. Retrieved from http://www.nmam.org/participate.htm
Military Appreciation Month. (n.d.). Military.com. Retrieved from http://www.military.com/military-appreciation-month
Anderson, B. (2011, May 20). Simple ways to help military families. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/20/how.to.help.military.families/
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (February 2015). Alaska population overview: 2013 estimates. (ISSN 1063-3790). Retrieved from http://myfwc.com/media/3046895/2014-BoatingStatistics.pdf