I’m trying to decide how best to observe Memorial Day. It should be a big deal to me, considering how many of my family have been in the military. My father served two tours in Vietnam and retired after twenty-one years in the Army. My mom was an Army nurse. I’ve got two uncles who served in the military during Vietnam, and I served in the Army Reserves for twelve years until I got pregnant with Cassie. Ironically, it was during Memorial Day weekend five years ago that I got pregnant at a fertility clinic. I had thought I would stay in the Reserves after having a baby, but after undergoing a rather scary emergency surgery at the beginning of my second trimester, I realized I never wanted to leave my child for anything, so I got out.
Even though I’m out, I still have an appreciation for the military. The Army Reserves was the source of some of the best and worst experiences of my life, and had a lot to do with the person I am today. And knowing what I know about the military, I have to admit I am very grateful to anyone who serves. It’s not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, but someone has to do it. I believe that freedom comes at a cost, and as someone who benefits from the freedoms of being an American citizen, I ought to support the people paying that cost. Let’s face it, there are very few places in the world where a woman can get away with doing the things I do and not be stoned for it. My freedom to write, paint, express myself, vote, practice my religion of choice, read, have an education, drive, earn a black belt, marry as I choose, etc., all come from being an American citizen, and the military defends that freedom. So you’d think I’d have plans to honor said military in a big way today.
Well, I don’t. Michael and I made no special plans beyond getting together with friends for an afternoon barbeque. I will probably call my folks to see how they’re doing and tell them I love them, but I have no intention of heading out to any public events. I hate crowds and I am not keen on hunting for a parking space at some memorial event that is really no more than an over-sized barbeque anyway. Why should I? Memorial Day is not about barbeques. It’s about saying thank you to the people who serve our country. So I’ve been thinking. What is the best way to say thank you?
After a short search on Google, I think I found my answer. AnySoldier.com lets people send letters and care packages to service members serving in harms way. Basically, you send the stuff to whatever unit you want and it gets distributed to soldiers who don’t get much or any mail and would greatly appreciate the support. What I like about this is the following:
You get to choose what to send, who to send it to and when.
It’s more personal and more involved than a monetary donation.
AnySoldier.com has a non-discrimination policy that includes all people, regardless of “race, color, national origin or citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status.” That’s a big deal to me.
So, I may not get a package out today, but I think I could send a letter, and I can certainly get a package out by the end of this week. And I can’t think of a better way to honor Memorial Day than this. Can you?