Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Showing our military appreciation all year long is a great way to say thank you Veterans, Active Duty and Reserve for your service and sacrifice. Each of the six branches of the U.S. Military plays an important role in our country’s history and there are many ways you can show your appreciation for military service members and their contributions. Here we offer our gratitude, provide you with a comprehensive list of military holidays and observances, and 14 ways to show your military appreciation and offer your support any time of year. Plus, we offer a glimpse into all that Homes for Heroes is doing to support our nation’s military community by saving them money on their home and mortgage transactions, and awarding grants to assist homeless veterans in need.
Appreciation for Military Service Members
For those of you attempting to learn more about the military community:
- Military Veterans are men and women who have served in the military.
- Active-Duty service members are currently serving in the military.
- Military Reserve are members of the reserve components (or on standby) of the United States Armed Forces.
Thank You Veterans for Your Service
There are 18 million military Veterans in the United States according to the June 2, 2020 Census Report and this large group of American citizens represent seven percent of the U.S. adult population (18 years or older).
Military Veterans have made many sacrifices to serve our country, including putting their lives on the line to protect our nation. They have sacrificed time away from their families and friends, as well as civilian careers. In addition many Veterans suffer from physical or mental injuries, or service-connected disabilities.
Because of their service and their sacrifice, we appreciate and honor the service of military Veterans. They are brave men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and way of life. And, due to their skills acquired during their time in the military, our Veterans play an important role in the health of our country’s economy and community culture after their service.
Thank you Veterans for your service and sacrifice. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Active-Duty Service Members
There are over 1.3 million Active-Duty U.S. military service members according to the 2020 Demographics Profile of the Military Community report. Active-Duty military service members continue to serve our country. They are playing an active role in U.S. military initiatives and priorities right now, at home and overseas. This may include putting their lives on the line to complete the mission. They also sacrifice time away from their families and friends. And through their service, they may suffer from service-connected injuries or disabilities.
The sacrifices they are making today, and the remaining days of their service, are why we appreciate them and why we are grateful for their service.
Thank you Active-Duty military members for your ongoing service and sacrifice. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Military National Guard and Reserve for Your Ongoing Service and Support
The Military National Guard and Reserve has over 800,000 support service members. These two reserve components of the U.S. Military provides support to the other branches of the military.
The Military Reserve’s primary mission is to provide trained and ready forces for national defense, but it also plays an important role in providing support to civil authorities during emergencies. In addition, the Military Reserve supports other government agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
The National Guard’s primary mission is to provide support to the other branches of the military, but it also plays an important role in providing security at airports and on military bases. In addition, the National Guard helps with disaster relief efforts and provides support to law enforcement agencies.
The Military National Guard and Reserve play a support role, but their service and sacrifice is just as important to the success of our U.S. Armed Forces and its duties.
Thank you Military National Guard and Reserve service members for your ongoing service, support and sacrifice. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Military Families and Spouses for Your Service
Military families play an important role in providing emotional support, financial stability, and practical assistance to their loved ones who served or are serving.
Military families make many sacrifices, including time away from their loved ones. They may struggle because there is one less adult to handle the family’s affairs. And, there’s the weight of emotional anxiety or fear of a family member being injured or killed in action. Or, the impact of losing a loved one who pays the ultimate sacrifice and is killed in action.
For these sacrifices and the service you provide your loved ones during and after deployment, we thank you military families, spouses and children. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Appreciation for the Branches of the US Military
We honor the unique history, tradition, and new beginnings of the six branches of the US Military: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force.
Thank You Army Service Members
The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the U.S. Military, and it is responsible for land-based operations. There are 480,000 Active-Duty, 525,000 National Guard and Reserve, and 8 million Veteran service members of the U.S. Army.
The Army’s Mission: To deploy, fight, and win our Nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt, and sustained land dominance by Army forces across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the Joint Force.
Just writing/reading that statement makes me sit up taller and puff up my chest.
Thank you Army service members for all you do (or did) to deploy, fight, and win our nation’s wars. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Navy Service Members
The United States Navy is a seagoing branch of the U.S. Military, and it is responsible for maritime operations. The Navy has over 340,000 Active Duty personnel, 58,000 Navy Reserve and 4 million Veterans.
The Navy’s Mission: The United States is a maritime nation, and the U.S. Navy protects America at sea. Alongside our allies and partners, we defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free. Our nation is engaged in long-term competition. To defend American interests around the globe, the U.S. Navy must remain prepared to execute our timeless role, as directed by Congress and the President.
Thank you Navy service members for all you do (or did) to protect our nation at sea. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Air Force Service Members
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the U.S. Military, and it is responsible for providing airpower. The Air Force has over 340,000 Active Duty personnel, more than 175,000 Air National Guard and Reserves, and over 3 million Veterans.
The Air Force’s Mission: To fly, fight and win – airpower anytime, anywhere.
They just updated their mission statement in 2021 and I really like it. Simple, strong, easy to remember and straight to the point.
Thank you Air Force service members for all you do (or did) for this country, and for providing airpower anytime, anywhere! Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Marine Corp Service Members
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the U.S. Military that is primarily responsible for amphibious and ground combat operations. The Marine Corps is organized under the U.S. Navy, and it has over 180,000 Active-Duty personnel, more than 38,000 Marine Corp Reserve, and 2 million Veterans.
The Marine Corps Mission: Analyze, develop, and direct the Marine Corps’ energy strategy in order to optimize expeditionary capabilities across all war fighting functions.
Thank you Marine Corp service members for all you do (or did) to optimize capabilities across all war fighting functions for our nation. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Coast Guard Service Members
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the U.S. Military that is responsible for maritime safety, security, and stewardship. The Coast Guard has over 42,000 Active military personnel, more than 6,000 Coast Guard Reserve, and more than 176,000 Veterans.
The Coast Guard Mission: To ensure our nation’s maritime safety, security and stewardship.
Thank you Coast Guard service members for all you do (or did) to protect our nation’s maritime safety, security and stewardship. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Thank You Space Force Service Members
The U.S. Space Force (USSF) is a distinct branch of the armed services. The branch is organized under the U.S. Air Force, similar to how the U.S. Marine Corps is organized under the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Space Force is responsible for organizing, training and equipping Space Force Guardians to conduct global space operations. Called to protect and defend American interests and to ensure our forces, our allies, and the world never experience a day without space.
The Space Force Mission: To enhance the way U.S. forces fight and to provide decision makers with additional military options.
Thank you Space Force service members for all you do (or did) to enhance the way our nation’s forces fight. Be sure to tell the ones you know AND the ones you meet.
Specific Times to Reflect, Honor and Appreciate Our Military
It’s always important to have respect and to show our military appreciation, and our service members’ gratitude for representing and defending the country we call home. During special days, weeks or months of the year we focus on important holidays or observances to remind us of our brothers and sisters who served in the military, who are currently serving in the military, or who support our military service members.
Here is a list of the important military holidays and observances to reflect, honor and appreciate the service of our military members and their families throughout the year. Please reference the list of ways to show your appreciation in the next section and use this list of observances as a starting point to mark your calendar, get involved and say, “Thank you for your service”.
- Coast Guard Reserve Birthday (February 19) – The Coast Guard Reserve Birthday is celebrated to commemorate the establishment of the Coast Guard Reserve in 1941. We thank the Coast Guard Reserve for providing trained and ready personnel to support the Coast Guard in its missions of maritime safety, security, and stewardship.
- Navy Reserve Birthday (March 3) – The Navy Reserve Birthday commemorates the establishment of the Navy Reserve in 1915. We thank the Navy Reserve for providing trained and ready personnel to support the Navy in its mission to protect our nation at sea.
- K-9 Veterans Day (March 13) – K-9 Veterans Day was created to honor the courageous work of K-9 Military dogs. These amazing animals are trained to serve and protect us. It all started March 13, 1942 when the Army began training dogs for their new K-9 Corps!
- Medal of Honor Day (March 25) – Congress officially established the Medal of Honor Day on March 25, 1990 to honor recipients of the Medal of Honor and to commemorate their acts of bravery. The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be given to an individual serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Vietnam War Veterans Day (March 29) – Vietnam War Veterans Day was created to commemorate the Vietnam War and to honor the men and women who served in this conflict. The Vietnam War was a long and difficult war that lasted from 1955 to 1975.
- Month of the Military Child (April) – The Month of the Military Child is celebrated in April to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by military families, and specifically the challenges experienced by children. Military children often have to deal with difficult situations such as having a parent deployed away from home, moving to different communities, and trying to re-establish relationships in school that could end up being short-term. We also want to recognize that military children tend to be resilient and adaptable due to their experiences.
- Gold Star Spouses Day (April 5) – Created by Congress in 2010, Gold Star Spouses Day is a day to remember and honor the sacrifices made by the spouses of service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. Military, or as a result of service-connected injuries or illness.
- Air Force Reserve Birthday (April 14) – The Air Force Reserve Birthday commemorates the establishment of the Air Force Reserve in 1948. The Air Force Reserve is a component of the U.S. Military that provides trained and ready personnel to support the Air Force in its global missions to provide airpower – anytime, anywhere.
- Army Reserve Birthday (April 23) – The Army Reserve Birthday commemorates the establishment of the Army Reserve in 1908. The Army Reserve is a component of the U.S. Military that provides trained and ready personnel to support the Army in its missions of land and air defense, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief.
- National Military Appreciation Month (May) – National Military Appreciation Month is a month long celebration in the month of May to honor the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Military. Military Appreciation Month is a time to remember the sacrifices made by military service members and their families, and to show our appreciation for their service.
- Military Caregiver Month (May) – Military Caregiver Month is a time to recognize and support military caregivers. Military caregivers are often the unsung heroes of the military community. They provide care for their loved ones who have been wounded, ill, or injured in service to our country. Military caregivers sacrifice their own time, health, and sometimes well-being to care for their loved ones.
- Silver Star Service Banner Day (May 1) – Congress officially established the Silver Star Service Banner Day in 2010 and it is the official day to honor wounded, ill, and injured veterans for their service and sacrifice.
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day (Friday before Mother’s Day) – Military spouses play a big role in the lives of service members. They make many sacrifices to support their loved ones, their service duties, and the lifestyle that comes with it. Military spouses are an important part of a strong military community.
- Children of Fallen Patriots Day (May 13) – This day was created by the Fallen Patriots Foundation in 2004 to remember the children who have lost a parent in military service. It is also a day to support these children as they navigate their way through life without a mother or father.
- Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday in May) – Armed Forces Day was created in 1949 by then-Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. It is a day to celebrate the strength and resilience of the Armed Forces, as well as to thank service members for their dedication and sacrifices.
- Memorial Day (Last Monday of May) – Memorial Day was created to honor the fallen men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation. The day is commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery where small U.S. flags are placed at each stone. Many local cemeteries follow this practice.
- D-Day Anniversary (June 6) – The D-Day Anniversary commemorates the day when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France during World War II. The D-Day Anniversary is an important reminder of the sacrifices made by the men and women who served in World War II to achieve victory.
- Army Birthday (June 14) – The Continental Army was founded on June 14, 1775. It is when expert riflemen were enlisted to serve the United Colonies for a single year. And now, the date is celebrated to recognize the birth of the U.S. Army and the service of its service members.
- Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday (June 23) – The Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday was created on June 23, 1939 by an act of Congress. The birthday of the Coast Guard Auxiliary is celebrated every year on this date to honor the men and women who have served or are serving in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
- National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day (July 27) – This observance was created on July 27, 1953, the day that the armistice agreement was signed. The agreement ended hostilities between North Korea and South Korea. This day we honor the men and women who served in the Korean War.
- Coast Guard Birthday (August 4th) – The Coast Guard was created by Congress on August fourth, 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service. The Coast Guard Birthday commemorates the founding of the U.S. Coast Guard and celebrates the service and sacrifice of all Coast Guard service members, both past and present.
- Purple Heart Day (August 7) – The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President to any member of the Armed Forces while serving with one of the Armed Services after April 5, 1917 has been wounded, killed, or has died after being wounded by enemy action. In 2014 it became an annual observance each year.
- Marine Corps Reserve Birthday (August 29) – The Marine Corps Reserve Birthday commemorates the founding of the Marine Corps Reserve when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Appropriations Act of 1916. It was driven by the need for more warfighters as the U.S. involvement in WWI became likely.
- POW/MIA Recognition Day (Third Friday in September) – POW/MIA Recognition Day was created in 1979 through a signed proclamation by President Jimmy Carter. It is the day to remember and honor those who were held as prisoners of war (POWs) or listed as missing in action (MIA). POW/MIA Recognition Day reminds us that there are still Americans who are unaccounted for from past wars, and that the work must continue for the release of all POWs and MIAs.
- Air Force Birthday (September 18) – The Air Force Birthday commemorates and celebrates the day when the United States Air Force was created. The National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law, which created the U.S. Air Force as a separate and distinct branch of the military.
- Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day (Last Sunday in September) – The holiday was created by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918, and is observed on the last Sunday in September. Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day is a holiday that honors mothers and families who have lost a loved one in service to our country.
- Navy Birthday (October 13) – Navy Birthday celebrates and commemorates both the day that the United States Navy was founded (October 13, 1775) and also honors all those who have served or are currently serving in America’s Navy. The date was chosen because it is the date of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is considered to be one of the most important naval battles in history.
- National Day of the Deployed (October 26) – National Day of the Deployed is a day to remember, honor and support our troops who are deployed around the world. The day was created in 2006 by Military spouses to show support for those who are serving or have served.
- Military Family Month (November) – Military Family Month is an annual event that takes place in November. It was established in 1993 by the Armed Services YMCA and recognizes the contributions of military families to the readiness of the Armed Forces. It highlights the sacrifices made by military families, including spouses and children, who often have to deal with long periods of separation from their loved ones.
- Warrior Care Month (November) – Warrior Care Month is an annual event that takes place in November to raise awareness for military members who have been wounded, injured, or ill. The event was created by the Military Warriors Support Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Marine Corps Birthday (November 10) – The Marine Corps tradition is to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday when the branch was established on November 10, 1775 by the 2nd Continental Congress. It is a day to show appreciation for the U.S. Marine Corps and its service members.
- Veterans Day (November 11) – This is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice treaty, which ended World War I. Veterans Day was created to honor the brave men and women who have served in the Military. It is a day to remember their sacrifice and to thank them for their service.
- Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7) – National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day was established by Congress in 1994, and is now observed annually on December 7 because it was on that day in 1941 when Japan attacked the United States Military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack on Pearl Harbor led to America’s entry into World War II.
- U.S. Army National Guard Birthday (December 13) – The U.S. Army National Guard Birthday is celebrated and recognizes the establishment of the National Guard in 1636. The National Guard is a reserve force of the United States Army that is composed of both federal and state troops.
- National Wreaths Across America Day (Second Saturday in December) – National Wreaths Across America Day is a day when Americans across the country place wreaths on the graves of the fallen as a way to remember their sacrifice and honor their service. The tradition started in 1992 when Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, donated over five thousand surplus wreaths from his company to Arlington National Cemetery. With the help of volunteers, they placed the wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers.
- U.S. Space Force Birthday (December 20) – The U.S. Space Force Birthday commemorates and celebrates the date the U.S. Space Force was created in 2019 and the service of its Guardian service members.
14 Ways to Show Gratitude and Say Thank You to Military
- Attend Military Events – Find out what Military events like parades, or special support and recognition events like 5K runs/walks are happening to raise funds in your local community. Be sure to check out the military ceremonies and community functions like change of command, retirements and graduations. Any local American Legion, VFW, VA Facility and other Military-based establishments will typically have information regarding events in the area. If not, your city’s website or the community Chamber of Commerce website will typically have information.
- Organize a Community Event – Not finding any events in your area that bring members of your community together to support and/or honor Military service members? Take the initiative to plan and coordinate an event you want to happen. It’s more work, but it gives you the freedom to put it together the way you want it done. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Many people will probably want to get involved and contribute, but they need someone to lead things. Be sure to ask your community leaders (political and business) to get involved. They may be able to assist with promoting the event, donating to the event for a fundraiser raffle/giveaway, or maybe they could offer the use of their facility to host part of the event. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to ask.
- Donate – Hop online and donate to your favorite military nonprofit to assist Veterans. Here is a great list of Veteran and Military nonprofits and charitable organizations from the Charity Navigator.
- Fly the American Flag (Correctly) – We stress “correctly” because the flag represents the country for which our Military serve and there is proper flag etiquette to follow when flying a flag on a home, business, etc. If you’re not a U.S. flag owner, maybe now is the time to get a new American flag (or replace a tattered one).
- Send a Care Package or Letter – Through Operation Gratitude you can send a care package to a Military service member or a Military family. You can also write and send letters to anonymous service members to thank them for their service. These letters accompany their care packages.
- Get to Know Them – Introduce yourself to service members and military families in your community and show your military appreciation by thanking them for their service. Offer to buy them a coffee, drink or meal some time. Get to know them and ask them about their service.
- Volunteer Your Time – Give your time to serving your local veterans. Volunteer to pick them up and drive them to and from their medical appointments. Volunteer your time at any local Veterans Affairs (VA) facility and spend some time with the Vets. The DAV has a great volunteer program and database that can help you find some options.
- Help a Military Spouse or Family – Cook some frozen meals. Babysit the children. Volunteer to clean their home, do home repairs or yard work, or run some errands to give them some time back.
- Visit Military Cemetery or Memorial – Decorate graves with flowers or a small U.S. flag and/or clean graves by removing debris, weeds or overgrowth. Take a moment to pay your respects to those who served and have passed, or paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Because of their service and sacrifice, we are able to enjoy the freedom and privileges we have today.
- Purchase from Veteran-Owned Businesses – Show your community support by supporting your local veteran-owned businesses by purchasing their products or services. Here’s a great resource for veteran-owned businesses.
- Wear Your Military Pride – Pull out the tactical gear, camouflage attire and military themed clothes that represent your favorite branch of the military to show your patronage and support.
- Social Media – Share your military appreciation on your social media profiles and encourage friends and followers to participate, show their support, and/or get involved in community events and military functions. Maybe even join some local military family social groups to find out how you can help support your local military community.
- Offer Special Discount – Business owners can show their support by offering military service members and/or their families a special discount or deal on their products or services. Here is a list of businesses providing veteran discounts that may trigger ideas for your own business offer.
- Employ Military Veterans – Business owners can also hire Veterans and put their talent, skills and work ethic to good use. Our service members acquired many skills while serving in the Military and could be a valuable asset for your company.
Military Discounts and Special Deals
A great way for businesses to show their military appreciation is to offer a special military discount or deal. Military discounts are a way of saying thank you for your service and sacrifice. Many businesses offer military discounts year-round, but some businesses only offer them during military holidays or special observances. If you’re a business owner, consider offering a military discount or special deal. It’s a great way to show your support and give something back to those who served or are currently serving our country.
How Homes for Heroes Shows Military Appreciation
Homes for Heroes was created shortly after the events of 9/11 to give back to the heroes who serve and sacrifice for the rest of us and say thank you veterans, active-duty and reserve military members for your service and sacrifice.
$3,000 Average Savings When You Buy, Sell or Refinance
To thank you, our real estate and mortgage specialists can save you an average of $3,000 when you buy, sell or refinance a home or mortgage. We take pride in the service our local specialists provide our military service members. Our specialists know your community. They know how to navigate the housing and mortgage trends, and how to help you take advantage of the VA loan benefits. They joined Homes for Heroes specifically to serve military service members and to thank you, by saving you significant money when you close on a home or mortgage.
If you’re ready to begin the process of buying and/or selling a home. Or, if you’re in a place to refinance your mortgage, simply register online to speak with our local specialists to get your questions answered. There’s no obligation. We would be honored to assist you with your next home purchase or sale process.
Homes for Heroes Foundation Grants for Homeless Veterans
To expand its Circle of Giving, Homes for Heroes, Inc., donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. So, every time a hero like you buys or sells a home using the Homes for Heroes program, you are helping heroes in need.
At the time of updating this post for Military Appreciation month 2023, our most recent Homes for Heroes Foundation grants were given to organizations who are focused on supporting veterans, and military families with children:
- Adopt a Vet Dental Program received a $10,000 grant
- Cover My 6 received a $10,000 grant
- Angels of America’s Fallen received a $10,000 grant
- Little Patriots Embraced received a $10,000 grant
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate professionals who are committed to providing savings on home and mortgage buy, sell and refinance transactions for firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves and veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers.
Please take a moment to learn more about the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the grants it provides nonprofit organizations who help heroes in need, or simply to make a donation.
Homes for Heroes appreciates you and our country’s military service members and whole-heartedly thank you for your service.