Folks, it’s critical that we remember why we're celebrating Independence Day. Lots of people tend to forget the real meaning of the 4th of July while having a beer or enjoying a cookout.
This year, take some time to think about our active service members, vets, and milfams, as well all the orgs supporting those people who really have their boots on the ground making a difference for our country.
Here are 4 ways that you can take action this July 4th:
1. Say Thank You. Let a veteran, service member, or military family know that you appreciate them. It seems simple, but it shows that you care and that you remember why this holiday exists. It's really the least we can do for someone who volunteers to risk their life for us. AnySoldier.com is a site that allows you to send letters to soldiers, especially those who get little or no mail.
2. Give Back. Check out this list of military and veterans organizations that I support. Please give back to 'em, if you're able. Even small contributions really help. (You can even check out the list of 5 Veterans Groups Who Deserve Recognition on Independence Day.) Charity Navigator does a great job of weeding out the bad actors when it comes to making a donation.
3. Register to vote. Hey, people across the world really do feel we're the "shining city on the hill," that, seriously, we're the leader of the free world. I feel we need to live up to that, every day, and that means to passionately commit to voting, that's the whole "consent of the governed" thing that the Founders established. Our troops fight for that every day; Dr King gave his life for that. It's up to us all to ensure the integrity of our voting process by getting registered right, and to encourage everyone to vote, regardless of age (18+), ethnicity, or gender. You can register here.
4. Be aware of those around you. As Susanna Speier noted, regarding fireworks:
For soldiers dealing with combat trauma…the explosive
blasts can trigger a more visceral fight/flight response because of
their similarities to the blasts and explosions experienced in Iraq
and/or Afghanistan. Being surrounded by explicit and implicit displays
of patriotism and anti-patriotism can further augment a shell shocked
combat vet’s sense of displacement.
What will you be doing this 4th of July? And what are your favorite ways to give back?