Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publically demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our servicemembers – past and present. Each year the president makes a proclamation, reminding Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country.
May was selected because it has most days set aside for celebrating and commemorating our military’s achievements. These days include Loyalty Day, which was established in 1921, Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorating the end of WWII in Europe on May 8, 1945, Armed Forces Day created in 1949, Military Spouse Appreciation Day established in 1984, and of course the best known of the May holidays, Memorial Day.
Memorial Day, is the only federal holiday in May and is celebrated on the last Monday of the month. The day, dating from the Civil War era, traditionally has marked recognition of those who have died in service to the nation. Each year on Memorial Day, the White House Commission on Remembrance promotes one minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to honor the military’s fallen comrades and to pay tribute to the sacrifices by the nation’s service members and veterans.
National Military Appreciation Month: What’s It All About?
National Military Appreciation Month started as a simple idea; to gather America around its military family to honor, remember, recognize and appreciate those who have served and those now serving and to know the history behind it all. Subsequent formal legislation informs our servicemembers that their country has set aside an entire month to honor, remember and appreciate them.
In 1999, legislation passed in the U.S. Senate designating May as National Military Appreciation Month, with the support and sponsorship of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) of San Diego and over 50 veteran service organizations. In April 2004 more comprehensive legislation was passed by unanimous consent of both Houses of Congress, H. Con. Res. 328, that May is National Military Appreciation Month and urges the President to issue an annual proclamation calling on the American people to recognize this special month of May through appropriate ceremonies and events.
Message from Mrs. Deborah Mullen, a Navy mom and wife of Admiral Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
I can personally attest to the inner strength military families develop through deployments, frequent moves and new cultural experiences. There is, of course, much to love about a military life and a lot to value about the richness and diversity it brings to our children’s perspectives.
But as I meet with military families across the country, it is clear to me that a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has challenged them, stretched them, and tested their resilience and strength in unprecedented ways.
That reality isn’t always readily seen or understood by the rest of America.
My husband Michael speaks frequently on this topic. He notes that today, less than 1 percent of our nation’s population serves in uniform.
We are concerned that people who used to have day-to-day connections with military men and women and their families may not know much about them anymore, so they are simply unaware of the stress and challenges these families face ‘ a situation compounded by the fact that most military families bear their burdens quietly.
It is evident to me that people care and want to help. Often, they just don’t know what to do to support our military families in the ways they need it most, particularly as they transition back to their communities and to civilian life.
That’s why April’s Month of the Military Child and May’s Military Appreciation Month are important efforts that help us get moving in the right direction. They keep us talking. They offer avenues for appreciation and action. These things can only strengthen the connections between communities and our military. I also believe they can only strengthen our country.
There are many ways, big and small, to get involved. However, people choose to support, the concept is straightforward. Our military men and women and their families do so much and sacrifice so much to take care of America. This is about doing everything we can to ‘ together ‘ take care of them ‘ not just in April or May but year round.
Article Provided By: Military.com
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