Service members and military spouses sometimes complain that America is not grateful for their service.
Other times, the military community questions the way Americans show their gratitude through things like sale gimmicks, advertising or a plethora of sappy homecoming videos on the news or otherwise.
But it could be that poorly expressed thanks, thanks that doesn't resonate with the military community or a lack of thanks is just the result of Americans not knowing the best way to go about showing their support. Much like being invited to a party with no idea what to bring the birthday boy, they buy the best thing they can think of. And sometimes it just isn't right.
If you're looking for a way to show your gratitude to the military community, here are a few tips.
1. Skip the sympathy -- give gratitude. Military members don't want you to feel sorry for them. We chose this life and we are happy to serve. So instead of saying "I'm sorry," say "Thank you!" Encouraging words make us beam with pride.
2. If your business offers a discount, publicize it. Even though we aren't looking for handouts, we understand that many businesses want to say "thank you" by giving us a percentage off our purchases. That's fabulous -- thank you! If it's a secret discount, however, that only some military members know about, it feels more like an advertising gimmick. Why not tell us about it? Consider posting a sign. Not only will you be spreading the appreciation love, but more military members will have a chance to find out about the discount and use it.
3. Hey Hollywood! How about a good story once in a while? Instead of making movies and producing shows that make us look pitiful, why not produce more movies like "Act of Valor" that make our jobs look really, really cool?
4. Give a military spouse a hand. Know any deployed military families? Think about doing something nice for the spouse of a deployed service member. An offer to babysit, mow that insanely out of control lawn, drop off a meal or pick a child up from school one afternoon so his exhausted mom can take a nap would all be very appreciated. Little gestures of kindness say "thank you" in big ways.