May is National Military Appreciation Month, a commemoration designated by Congress in 1999. Congress chose May as the month to remind Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our Country because of the numerous individual days in May already marked to show our past and present troops our appreciation for their service to our great Nation:
- Memorial Day – observed on the last Monday in May – was first observed in 1868 and is a federal holiday for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces;
- Loyalty Day – observed on May 1 – was first observed in 1921 during the First Red Scare as a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom;
- Victory in Europe Day – celebrated on May 8 – also known as V-E Day, marked the 1945 end of WWII in Europe when Germany formally surrendered following the death of Adolf Hitler;
- Armed Forces Day – observed on the third Saturday of May – was first recognized by President Truman in 1950 to celebrate the unification of the Army, Navy and Air Force under the Department of Defense;
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day – observed on the Friday before Mother’s Day –was first recognized by President Reagan in 1984 to recognize the military spouses around us who provide our brave troops with support, comfort, and love, living with the hardship of having their life partner deployed away from home;
- Children of Fallen Patriots Day – observed on May 13 – was proclaimed in 2019 to salute the sacrifice of military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty and was selected as the date of observance because Arlington National Cemetery was established on May 13, 1864.
Other military accomplishments continue to take place in May. For example, May 2 is the anniversary of the now-historic 2011 Operation Neptune Spear which led to the death of Osama bin Laden, the man regarded as the mastermind behind the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
This Military Appreciation Month, if you are inclined to express your support to the military and its members who serve our Country, consider one of the following:
- Volunteer your time with an organization that supports the military community, like the USO, Wounded Warrior Project, and The Fisher House Foundation, just to name a few;
- Write a letter of thanks to a military family, those currently in the service or a veteran through Operation Appreciation and Blue Star Families; or
- Volunteer to foster a pet; Dogs on Deployment arranges foster care for the pets of the military when they are deployed, during basic training or if they are unable to care for them.
Jessica P. Butkera, Esq. is a partner in the firm’s Maryland (Metropolitan D.C.) office.