Each year on the third Saturday of May, we take the time to honor the service of our military men and women for Armed Forces Day. The holiday was implemented in 1949 by President Harry S. Truman in order to celebrate members of every section of the military, including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. This year, Armed Forces Day falls on Saturday May 16, so if you have friends or family members who served in the military (or who are still serving), it’s the perfect day to show them how much their service means to you. Not sure how to honor military men and women this year? Take a look at these six ideas:
1. Bake a Special Treat
For any soldiers or veterans in your family or group of friends, one of the best ways to honor their service on Armed Forces Day is to simply spend some time together. So, invite them over for dinner or a backyard barbecue! If you want, show them you appreciate their service by baking a cake or a batch of cupcakes. You can decorate the baked goods with red, white and blue frosting or with a logo or design that represents their branch of the military. If you know anyone who is still serving overseas or out of state, these cupcakes also make for a great care package.
2. Honor With Flowers
If you’ve ever lost a friend or family member while he or she was serving in the military, you likely honor his or her memory every day in different ways. On Armed Forces Day, decorate his or her grave with a bouquet of yellow roses. Do whatever feels right to you to honor your beloved soldier, whether it’s writing a letter and leaving it at the grave, sharing memories with the friends or family members who came with you or simply holding a moment of silence.
3. Send a Thoughtful Card
The post office no longer allows people to send cards or care packages addressed to “Any Service Member,” but there are still tons of ways you can send a gift, card or letter, even if you don’t personally know any of the soldiers who are serving. Sponsor a care package using programs like Operation USO Care Package or Operation Troop Aid. Or, send letters or help grant veterans’ wishes with the help of the A Million Thanks Organization.
Military men and women serve the country, so to honor them, you can help serve your community. Spending time with veterans in retirement communities is a great way to honor Armed Forces Day, but you can also take part in any volunteer opportunity that helps other people or animals.
5. Find a Parade
Many communities have parades or other celebrations for Armed Forces Day in May, so do a quick search online to see if you can find one in your city or town. Also, there are often air shows happening during the month of May, and they’re a fun and exciting way to celebrate the U.S. military! Use the parade or air show as an opportunity to explain to your children why you’re celebrating and who you’re honoring on this holiday.
6. Decorate Your Porch
Finally, one of the easiest ways to show support for the troops in general is by decorating your front porch. Hang an American flag where it can be seen by passers by, and plant red, white and blue flowers (including roses, hydrangeas, carnations, chrysanthemums and daisies) in planters on your porch or front steps. These simple steps will show your support for the men and women serving the country.