Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 15

Help Families of Fallen and Active
Service Members this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the day when Americans remember
and honor military personnel who lost their lives while
serving their country. Though its unofficial designation
as the start of summer makes Memorial Day weekend
a time of celebration for many people, the families of
fallen and active service members often find Memorial
Day weekend has its fair share of heartache as well.
Families of fallen service members who lost their
lives defending their country tend to find solace in
ceremonies honoring those who made the ultimate
sacrifice. But there are other ways civilian men and
women can honor both active and fallen service
members in their communites.
Participate in community events that honor fallen
service members. Many communities host Memorial
Day parades to honor fallen soldiers. It can be
comforting to the families of fallen soldiers to see
fellow members of their community attend the parade
and public memorials. Such civilian support lets family
members of fallen soldiers know that fellow members
of their community appreciate and do no forget the
sacrifices made by their loved ones.
Include families of fallen and active service members
in your weekend activities. Memorial Day weekend
is a three-day weekend at the end of May, when the
weather is warming up in much of the country. The
weekend marks the return of backyard barbecues or
pool parties, and such events are a great opportunity
for civilians to invite the families of fallen service
members over to share some fun in the sun. Memorial
Day can be an especially difficult time for the loved
ones of fallen service members, and even the few
hours of relief that a barbecue, pool party or picnic can
provide can make a welcome respite from an otherwise
difficult weekend.

Make a charitable donation. Numerous charities exist
to support soldiers and their families. Such charities
exist to support the families of fallen soldiers, injured
soldiers or even those families struggling while a family
member is on active deployment. Men and women
who want to help can do so by making a charitable
donation. And such donations do not have to be
financial. The Hero MilesSM program, for example,
allows men and women to donate their frequent flyer
miles to wounded, injured or ill service members or
their families. This allows service members who meet
certain criteria to be given a round-trip airline ticket
from a medical center to their home or to attend an
authorized event. In addition, service members can
give a round-trip ticket to enable family members or
close friends to visit them while they are receiving
medical treatment. Since its inception, the program,
which is administered by the nonprofit Fisher House
Foundation, has provided more than 36,000 airline
tickets worth more than $55 million. To learn more,
visit www.fisherhouse.org. Numerous other charities
exist to help service members and their families in a
variety of ways.
Organize events in your community. Every community
benefits from the efforts of active service members
and the efforts of those service members who gave
their lives in service of their country. Men and
women who want to express their gratitude for such
service can organize events to do just that. Speak
to local merchants and encourage them to offer
discounts to military members and their families
throughout Memorial Day weekend. Or organize an
ice cream social for the children of active or fallen
service members. Such events can be uplifting for the
families of service members while raising community
awareness of the important role our soldiers play.

Decorating Continued from Page 14 lost their lives in the war. On

On May 5, 1868, General John
A. Logan called for a national
day of remembrance at the end
of May to honor soldiers who

20,000 Union and Confederate in all military conflicts, not just
May 30, 1868, the first Deco- soldiers were buried.
the Civil War. In 1968, Congress
ration Day, General James Garpassed a law declaring Memoth
field — later our 20 president After the First World War, De- rial Day a federal holiday to be
— made a speech to a crowd coration Day was renamed Me- celebrated each year on the last
of over 5,000 people at Arling- morial Day and became a time Monday of May.
ton National Cemetery where to honor the American lives lost

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