Display an American flag, talk with others about the contributions members of our military have made to our freedom and quality of life and – perhaps most important – thank a military enlistee, officer and/or veteran: May is National Military Appreciation Month.
According to the website Military.com, “Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their appreciation for the sacrifices and successes made by our servicemembers – past and present.” It’s intended to remind Americans of “the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country.”
May has the most days set aside for commemorating our military’s achievements, including 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 Memorial Day. Des Moines University honors graduates attending DMU on military scholarships with its annual Military Promotion Ceremony as part of its annual Commencement exercises; this year’s ceremony, free and open to all, will occur this Friday at 2 p.m. in the MEC, the large hall located on the first floor of the DMU Clinic.
National Military Appreciation Month and its military holidays are much-needed reminders, since fewer than one percent of our nation’s population serve in uniform. Most of us, myself included, are blissfully ignorant of the sacrifices servicemembers make in terms of health, families, careers and more. Let’s take time to learn about, honor and reach out to the men and women who work and fight to maintain our freedom – this month and year-round.