Making Memorial Day time to serve today’s heroes

What’s the Memorial Day weekend going to mean for your family? Perhaps you’ll consider not just the traditional TV, picnics, parades and so on.

If you are interested, the Minnesota National Guard has dozens of ways to help, on a section of their website entitled, “How Can I Help?”

One way to honor veterans who have died, is to honor today’s soldiers. The National Guard describes opportunities to help people who are in the military noew, and/or their families. The suggestions are organized into three broad categories:

  • Financial Donations
  • Time Donations
  • Product Donations

You’d think that financial donations would be pretty simple. But there is a vast array of possibilities. It includes gift certificates, money to help create video conferences, helping to build veterans memorials, helping send the child of a deployed veteran to camp, or donating phone cards.

You could ask a local fast food franchise, restaurant or service station to help- you could stand outside and ask for donations.

Time donataions, again, lots options, from sending letters or videos to troops, to making a special blanket, to helping drive member of a military family to appointments.

Product donations: this includes donating books, CDs, DVDs, cell phones, providing free lawn care for deployed service members and their families.

It’s heartening to see the wonderful creativity of youngsters on websites such as Let’s Say Thanks. What this and many other sites make clear is that an hour or so of effort to reach out is deeply appreciated.

If you do nothing else and have 7-15 year olds in your family, I’d strongly encourage looking at the art posted on the Let’s Say Thanks website by youngsters around the country. They produced and then sent these wonderful thank-yous to service people.

So even if you don’t have a relative or friend in the military, you can make a difference. The long Memorial Day weekend is a great time to start, or to continue, if you’ve already started honoring some of today’s heroes and their families.