May 8 is VE (Victory in Europe) Day, which marks the formal celebration of the Allied victory in Europe during World War II. Decades after the long war, May 8 is still a day of remembrance and celebration, and a day we pause to thank veterans of all wars and conflicts for the sacrifices they made to keep the world safe.
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Poet and author Maya Angelou has said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” The United States of America owes an incredible debt to the many men and women who have served, and often died in the nation’s many wars. So, if you are fortunate to have a veteran in your family, take time out this May 8 to honor him or her. Here are a few suggestions on how you might do it.
1. Donate to Operation Gratitude in your veteran’s name, or request a package be sent to your veteran. Operation Gratitude annually sends about 150,000 care packages to American troops overseas. Since its beginning in 2003, the organization has sent out more than 1 million packages. Each package costs between $75.00-$100.00 to assemble and another $15.00 to ship. Donate to the organization to help them to keep supplying packages to our troops.
2. Grant or request a wish from Wounded Soldier’s Wish. Wounded Soldier’s Wish is an organization that raises funds to supply the needs of wounded or injured troops. Just go to the website, read through the wishes posted by wounded members of our armed forces and donate to a wish of your choice.
3. For veterans who are animal lovers, donate to America’s Vet Dogs. America’s Vet Dogs is an organization dedicated to using guide dogs, service dogs and technology to help improve the lives of wounded veterans.
4. Foster a military pet. The American Humane Association has a program designed to allow everyday Americans to care for pets while their owners are away on military service. You could foster a pet for a military service member in your community.
5. Just say Thank You and take the time to listen to what your veteran has to say. There are many ways to assist veterans and their families. Or, you could just say “Thanks,” and allow a veteran to tell you his or her story. Little things can mean a lot.
7. Take him or her to dinner or offer to take care of some chores/yardwork or other thing they may need help with. Do something nice for a veteran in your community. Many of our Korean and Vietnam veterans are reaching a point in their lives where they may need help with larger household chores. Offer to help them out. Or, just show your gratitude by taking a veteran to dinner.
8. Invite your veteran to get involved with The Mission Continues together. The Mission Continues Together is an organization that invites veterans to work on projects designed to help their communities. Veterans and non-veterans alike can donate to the organization or volunteer for service in their communities.
9. Support Operation Homefront. Operation Homefront assists military families by providing food, support services and medical care to active military personnel and their families. You can donate to the organization or volunteer to provide help to a military family.
10. Donate your old car to Cars for Troops. Cars For U.S. Troops supplies used cars to active U.S. troops and their families. If you have a vehicle that you wish to get rid of, consider donating to the organization. They handle all of the paperwork and you can get an income tax deduction for donating your vehicle.