Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How did YOU remember on Memorial Day?

This "annual four-day weekend" really is so much more than a launching platform for movies, or time to be away from the job to BBQ. Many have forgotten that this is a time to reflect on the people that have in every case served, and in too many cases, given all to defend the freedoms we all enjoy today.

This morning I was listening to the Saving Private Ryan soundtrack and creating some new imagery to use on a variety of websites and was wondering what YOU'RE doing today to reflect, honor and support the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Below are a variety of options that will help you ensure that those that have or are serving are supported. If you have another effort you'd like showcased, make sure to chime in via the comments section here to tell us what YOU'VE done to honor the ones that continue to carve a little thing all of us call freedom.

1.) Tell a Serviceman/woman "Thanks": While my daughter and I walked into our local QuikTrip, I was in line in front of three soldiers who were all in Army fatigues holding coffee, ready to pay. As I stepped up to pay for my gas and soda pop. I asked if they wouldn't mind me paying for their coffees. They look bewildered at the offer but gladly took me up on it. I took the time to shake each of their hands, as did my daughter and told them "thank you for your service", as did my daughter and - folks - if you wanna' feel pride, thank an armed service member. Watching a little 6-year-old shake burly-beef mens hands and say "tank you ferrdezzervus" will move you to tears as it should.

2.) Thank a Cop: I think it's because I'm a cop magnet, but after dropping off my wife at work, I go into that same QuikTrip, that also serves as a police sub-station and there are always 3-5 police officers or sheriff's deputies in there. I do the same thing as above (minus the buying coffee - apparently they've got some deal worked out - I asked) and tell them "thank you for your service" every time I pass one of them. I do this with fireman as well because they too are "protecting us" and surely don't get the thanks they deserve in most cases. Make sure that those that protect us are aware that they're appreciated. While I can complain about how my efforts doing a job somewhere aren't recognized, it's never been more important to recognize the job done around us than with local law enforcement.

3.) Educate Yourself: Do you have any idea why we've been "in wars/conflicts" in the past? There are books available at your local bookstores, as well as years of material online FREE that will give you a lot of detail, history, and FACTS that showcase why we've been in/at wars in the past. A few I'll pass along that are favorites of mine:

-- The Pacific on HBO: This was a recent mini-series from HBO that I didn't like as much as Band of Brothers, but man - the website offers so much history, detail and "why were were there"ness that it's something to behold.

-- Propaganda Posters from The US: Take a moment to see more than 50 different posters and descriptions/dialogues of US-based War Propaganda Posters from WWII. The imagery has a style all it's own that artists have been trying to recapture in a variety of things over the years.

-- Banned Cartoons from WWII: I'm going to give you a link to ONE, and then to the collection. Check out the completely different perspective (for better or worse is up to the viewer of course) of these VS anything that we have running today during our current war efforts.

-- The War Memoirs of Dick Winters: If you've ever seen The HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers, then you've seen only a smidgen of what Dick Winters and the 101st had to experience during their tour to save the planet from the Nazi hoard. It's a book you'll read again and again and pass on to your children so that they can understand just how important the missions were, and how close we came to being in a very different reality.

-- Top Movies Where the Nazi's Get Owned: This is from last year during my own "tour of duty" with Screen Rant - a very popular movie news and feature article website that I had a great experience with. Check out MY favorite movies where "The Nazis Get Owned" and plan an afternoon/evening with your family to revel in history.

3.) Send or Tell a family who currently have someone serving the United State Military about "The Sweet Dreams Pillow Project." Last year, I took on the website creation responsibilities for a great project, that continues to provide smiles for children and families worldwide. The program is simple. Access the website, and request a pillow for a child. Submit a picture of those serving, and a pillow is made and sent to the home of the children of those serving. Now, the children get to go to sleep with Mommy and Daddy every night until they come home. How cool is that? This program is also looking for donations and support so please take the time to visit and give all that you can. Whether it's a passing on inside of your Twitter stream, sharing via your Facebook account, or sending the program cash, it all goes to an incredibly worthy effort that recognizes our men and women in harm's way.

4.) Tell Your Family "Thanks": I have the honor of having had many of my family serve over the years and it's a great little note on a day that should mean a lot to everyone to tell your own blood, just how thankful you are that they were THERE, and that they took the time, effort and sacrifice to serve. Make sure that they know it and revel in the fact your family made and continues to make the difference in freedom across the globe.


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