Friday, August 17 , 2018, 1:12 pm | Fair 77º

 
 
 
 

Tom Purcell: On Memorial Day, Small Gestures Key to Honoring Their Sacrifice

“Parades, mattress sales and burgers on the grill are all nice, but I feel we should do more to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

“Ah, yes, you speak of the Memorial Day holiday, a day intended to honor the men and women who gave their lives to protect the freedoms too many Americans take for granted.”

“That’s right. Look, there should be debate about the wars we have been fighting, but there should be no debate about honoring the men and women who died serving our country — or the men and women who continue to serve.”

“I couldn’t agree more. Millions of service people have sacrificed plenty over the years. According to the Veterans Affairs Department, nearly 42 million American men and women have served during wartime. Nearly 1.5 million were wounded. Nearly 1.2 million died.”

“Honoring these people with annual parades is a nice gesture, but we can all do more to support our troops.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars says we can write to people who are serving overseas or recuperating in military hospitals. These individuals love receiving emails, letters and care packages.”

“A wonderful start. What else can we do to better support the troops?”

“Donate time. The local VFW, the American Legion and other legitimate organizations are always in need of volunteers to support a variety of fundraising and recognition events. Simply contact your local VFW or American Legion office to learn how you may help.”

“Surely we can donate money, too?”

“Anyone can help fund a variety of needed services for military members — or support the American Red Cross to provide basic necessities to service members in military hospitals. Just be sure you are funding a legitimate organization. Regrettably, there are some charlatans out there. Before giving money, check out the organization at a respectable validation service, such as charitywatch.org.”

“That’s sound advice. What else can we do?”

Lori Felix, an Army veteran and founder of More With Less Today, offers simple and inexpensive ways we can serve the military and its families at Military.com. She suggests that even small gestures of kindness, such as volunteering to place flags at gravesites, are more than welcome.”

“Great!”

“Offering assistance to the families of service members who have been deployed is helpful, too. Life can be tough for a husband or wife left behind as his or her spouse serves overseas. Felix writes that we can ‘Extend a hand in friendship to a military family. Invite them over for a meal, bring them a meal or invite them out for dinner. Something as simple as running an errand or taking a walk together can forge a friendship.’”

“What can we do to help the older men and women who have served?”

“Felix suggests we contact a nursing home or a veterans hospital: ‘A visit can brighten a day and help veterans to know they are not forgotten. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has a Facebook page that provides inspiration and ideas.’”

“I have another idea that is near and dear to my own heart. There are war memorials in many aging communities that are being neglected. It takes a few volunteers, basic lawn equipment and some elbow grease to bring them back to life. Cleaning them up for Memorial Day is one of the most rewarding projects I ever participated in!”

“So we have a plan: If we want to especially enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, first offer up a small gesture of kindness in honor or those who served and are still serving!”

Tom Purcell, author of Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood and Wicked Is the Whiskey: A Sean McClanahan Mystery, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist, syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @PurcellTom. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >