While Cedar Rapids residents typically celebrate members of our military in November, they really should be saluted all year round, whether they are active, reserve, discharged or veterans receiving home health care or hospice care.
The staff at Above and Beyond Home Health Care encourages community members to take a moment to learn more about military members in their local communities and thank them for their service, whether they’re still enlisted or have been out for decades.
All of them have interesting perspectives, whether they served in peacetime or wartime, whether they were in actual combat or held important support roles in whatever branch they were part of. Even people from other countries who served in their respective militaries may have had similar insight.
True, not everyone will want to share all of the details of their service, especially if they had difficult experiences that may still affect them or their families. But even if they aren’t ready to talk, most will still likely appreciate the sentiment and gratitude at having a role in helping keep our country free.
Plus, hearing people’s stories will provide some insight into all the difficulties they went through to keep our way of life secure, and also share valuable and vital first-hand experience that may not be taught in history books, TV shows or war movies.
One of the more prominent May holidays for members of the armed services is Memorial Day. While Veterans Day in November celebrates the recognition of every veteran, past or present, the May holiday is dedicated to those who have paid the ultimate price.
It doesn’t just recognize men and women who have fallen in battle, but anyone who has served and passed on.
Since the end of the Civil War, the country has taken the opportunity to salute those who have served and fallen. It originally began as Decoration Day in the late 1860s as a way to honor fallen Union and Confederate soldiers, but in 1971, the day was officially expanded to include death in any American conflict.
The federal holiday is now celebrated the last Monday of May. While civilians consider the three-day a great day for barbecuing and the unofficial start of summer, it’s considered a day of remembrance for military members and their families.
Some of them clean cemeteries or plant flags at graves in the veteran section or at national cemeteries. Some take part in local ceremonies, which can take place any time that day, although a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time.
This year’s Memorial Day is May 28.
May actually contains several other occasions to salute military members past and present and those who support them. Military.com said the month is actually considered Military Appreciation Month because of all the possible celebration opportunities and historic commemorations.
These include Victory in Europe May 8, Military Spouse Appreciation Day May 12, Armed Forces Day May 20, and Maritime Day May 22.
Silver Star Service
A newer holiday worth mentioning is Silver Star Service Banner Day that took place May 1. Though it’s not a federal holiday like Memorial Day or Veterans Day, it’s still a day where surviving friends, family members and surviving enlisted men and women and officers are encouraged to gather and remember those who have been awarded the Silver Star Medal.
This designation is given to those who have taken actions due to high amounts of courage and valor in the battlefield during certain short conditions. It’s the third highest U.S. military decoration and has been awarded to Americans since 1818.
Families with members currently serving or who have been killed are authorized to fly certain color banners to show their support. The banners are Gold, showing sacrifice Blue, showing Hope; or Silver, showing Gallantry.
Gold is designated for families who have lost someone in combat; Blue is someone currently serving and Silver is someone who has died, become sick or was injured in combat.
The May holiday originally was only for those who have received the Silver Star medal, but the day has been expanded to include any and all service members who have been affected by combat. An official resolution encouraging people to observe this day was approved in 2013.
How home health care can help
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care enjoys helping our patients who are veterans, and some of our staff also has military experience.
Some of our patients need the same level of hospice or home healthcare or have been experiencing the same health conditions as the civilian population, while others may require different care needs due to injuries, chronic pain or health conditions related to their military experience, even if they took place years or even decades before.
As a provider of home care since 2004 in the Cedar Rapids area, we pride ourselves on offering the same high levels of quality of care to all of our patients and make sure that veterans know they are appreciated.
Our efforts include offering access to a variety of therapists who can offer specialized services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy; speech therapy, or massage therapy.
For more information on efforts to celebrate veterans visit Above and Beyond Home Health Care.