It's Memorial Day! White Sales! Big Blow-Outs! Discounts, Discounts, Discounts! How better to celebrate the brave and the free than with a little free spending? Hmmm... It doesn't seem quite the thing, does it? Amid the barbecues and basement deals, it's easy to forget to take a moment to say thank you to the brave, precious people who sacrifice so much. You may not know a veteran or any of the troops deployed, but they can feel your gratitude all the same. Below are my two favorite ways to support our men and women in uniform. There is no better way to honor the dead than to help the living.

Norman Rockwell's "Homecoming." Memorial Day recognizes the sacrifice of the many men and women who have served our country, most especially those who never had the chance to come home. 

"The greatest casualty is being forgotten." The Wounded Warrior Project works to provide care, comfort, and aid to severely injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They attend not only to the physical suffering of vets, but their mental health as well, and help grieving families navigate the new terrain of caregiving with counseling and guidance. 

During the World Wars, caring citizens could package up necessities and gifts, from socks to candy, and send them to various areas with the label "Any Soldier." The box and its contents would be given, literally, to "Any Soldier" who needed them. Sadly, with fears over terrorism and anthrax at an all time high, the practice was banned. But a concerned Army Sergeant, who had himself served in Iraq and seen firsthand how many men and women went without basic comforts or notes from home, was inspired to create Any Soldier, Inc. Coordinating thousands of troops across the Middle East and around the world, allows you to locate service members, shop for their specific needs, and mail packages directly to them. Sadly, there are many, many men and women in service who have no one sending them packages or mail. Even if you "only" send a letter of encouragement, anyone deployed will tell you:  a kind word from home can go far. 
Images, Norman Rockwell painting, orgs as listed.


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