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Paying Tribute to Our Country’s Bravest on Armed Forces Day

American Heroes IIMy older brother, Philip, and I are 18 months apart. When you’re that close in age with a sibling, there’s a lot of rivalry and teasing…and, boy, did my brother know just what to do to annoy me.

His favorite method of torture: imitating a Sleestak from “Land of the Lost.” For as jerky as he was to me back then, he turned out OK…actually more than OK. He turned out to be a hero.

Not because he’s a doctor (which he is), but because he demonstrated incredible courage by serving our country as a member of our Armed Forces. He was an Army physician and Captain for the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq at a time when the fighting was most intense. His letters home conveyed the seriousness of his mission, but he was careful to not go into detail about his day-to-day experiences…things he didn’t want my family to think about…things he wishes he could forget, but I’m sure never will.

One thing none of us should ever forget is the sacrifice our brave servicemen and women have made and continue to make for all of us. On Saturday, May 18, we’ll celebrate Armed Forces Day. This is a great opportunity to pay tribute to the unparalleled service of our Armed Forces and recall the extraordinary feats they accomplish in defense of our nation.

Here are just a few ideas of how you can celebrate and recognize the service of our country’s patriots and heroes:

Send a letter – Put a smile on a soldier’s face by sending them an e-card. Go to http://www.militaryecards.com/ to get started.

Send a care package – Show your support by sponsoring a care package to the troops. OurMilitary.mil provides a list of organizations that can help the general public send care packages. Popular care package items include toiletries, phone cards and sunscreen.

Donate blood – Donate blood to the soldiers by contacting the American Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-BLOOD.

Look for a parade – Check your local newspaper for a parade in your area honoring soldiers for Armed Forces Day.

Display a flag – Show your patriotism by proudly flying an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or American flag.

Volunteer- Take the time to reflect on those who are serving our country. Find out how you can volunteer by visiting www.serve.gov.

I’m fortunate my brother returned home safely from Iraq and I have the opportunity to thank him for his service, although I’ll admit I don’t do it nearly as often as I should. So let me close by saying, “Thank you for your service, Phil, and for putting our safety before your own. Love you!”

If you’d like to share a thank you to a service member in your life, please add a comment. Or, if you have an additional suggestion on how we all can celebrate Armed Forces Day, please share that, too.

Thank you and Happy Armed Forces Day!

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One Response to Paying Tribute to Our Country’s Bravest on Armed Forces Day

  1. C Martin says:

    My eldest brother served in the Navy, on active duty during the Vietnam War. He never spoke of it, and when I asked him once what he did there, he simply said, “I survived.” His reticence to speak of his experiences spoke volumes to me about the sacrifies those in the military have made for generations, so the rest of us can rest easy.

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