Help families of fallen, active service members

Memorial Day is the day when Americans remember and honor military personnel who lost their lives while serving their country.Though its unofficial designation as the start of summer makes Memorial Day weekend a time of celebration for many people, the families of fallen and active service members often find Memorial Day weekend has its fair share of heartache as well. Families of fallen service members who lost their lives defending their country tend to find solace in ceremonies honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. But there are other ways civilian men and women can honor both active and fallen service members in their communities. Participate in community events that honor fallen service members. Many communities host Memorial Day parades to honor fallen soldiers. It can be comforting to the families of fallen soldiers to see fellow members of their community attend the parade and public memorials. Such civilian support lets family members of fallen soldiers know that fellow members of their community appreciate and do not forget the sacrifices made by their loved ones. Include families of fallen and active service members in your weekend activities. Memorial Day weekend is a three-day weekend at the end of May, when the weather is warming up in much of the country. The weekend marks the return of backyard barbecues or pool parties, and such events are a great opportunity for civilians to invite the families of fallen service members over to share some fun in the sun. Memorial Day can be an especially difficult time for the loved ones of fallen service members, and even the few hours of relief that a barbecue, pool party or picnic can provide can make a welcome respite from an otherwise difficult weekend. Make a charitable donation. Numerous charities exist to support soldiers and their families. Such charities exist to support the families of fallen soldiers, injured soldiers or even those families struggling while a family member is on active deployment. Men and women who want to help can do so by making a charitable donation. And such donations do not have to be financial. The Hero Miles SM program, for example, allows men and women to donate their frequent flyer miles to wounded, injured or ill service
members or their families. This allows service members who meet certain criteria to be given a round-trip airline ticket from a medical center to their home or to attend an authorized event. In addition, service members can give a round-trip ticket to enable family members or close friends to visit them while they are receiving medical treatment. Since its inception, the program, which is administered by the nonprofit Fisher House Foundation, has provided more than 36,000 airline tickets worth more than $55 million. To learn more, visit www.fisherhouse.org. Numerous other charities exist to help service members and their families in a variety of ways. Organize events in your community. Every community benefits from the efforts of active service members and the efforts of those service members who gave their lives in service of their country. Men and women who want to express their gratitude for such service can organize events to do just that. Speak to local merchants and encourage them to offer discounts to military members and their families throughout Memorial Day weekend. Or
organize an ice cream social for the children of active or fallen service members. Such events can be uplifting for the families of service members while raising community awareness of the important role our soldiers play.

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