Hays: Support our troopsWritten by Pam Hays | | email@example.com
I have never been a history buff, yet I find it fascinating how the military of our great country evolved into its current branches: the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
The present structure is a result of the National Security Act of 1947. This is the same act that restructured the War Department into the Department of Defense. But it all began with the Continental Army, which was formed June 14, 1775, after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War and disbanded in 1783. The 1st and 2nd Regiments then became the Legion of the United States under Gen. Anthony Wayne, becoming the foundation of what is now the U.S. Army in 1796.
History is important because the men and women who serve today carry with them the sacrifices, commitment, strength and honor of all those who served before them. They leave their loved ones, the comforts of home, their friends, their jobs and their entire lives behind to stand side by side with their military brothers and sisters to protect the approximately 93 percent of us who have never served. It is a call of duty most of us will never experience. Yet we experience the great benefits bought by the 7 percent who have sacrificed beyond measure.
Though the demographics of the military, the enemies they fight and the warfare technology they use changed over the years, some facts remain the same. I don’t believe anyone truly wants war, but it has been a part of our world from the beginning of time.
War is a thing. Military members are people. No matter your stance on war, we all need to stand up and support our military members and their families. When someone serves, their loved ones also serve. These heroes behind the heroes are often forgotten.
When a soldier, airman, sailor or Marine gets deployed, there is almost always a family left behind that needs the support of their community. Seek out these families and find a way to support them, which doesn’t always mean spending money. A mother might need help with cutting the grass. A parent at your child’s school might appreciate a little extra help. A mother whose child has gone off to war might be grateful to share a cup of coffee and the chance to talk about her concerns for her “baby,” no matter the age of the military member.
When a service member doesn’t make it home from war alive, there is a family who will never be the same. Again, listening without judgment, even when you feel you have no words to ease the pain, will be appreciated.
Today we have the highest survival rates for those who have been deployed to warzones. Modern medicine keeps alive many who might have perished in the past, but with physical and mental injuries not seen before in our returning military. The needs of our visibly and invisibly wounded veterans are growing and the responsibility is on each of us to do our part to ease their recoveries and reintegrations.
We can do more to help than we ever thought we could do. I know this because as a civilian and survivor of a severe traumatic brain injury, I thought once that I was not capable or knowledgeable enough to offer much assistance. Wow, was I proven wrong! You, too, can make a difference. Don’t overthink it. The military does have a culture that the rest of us will never understand fully. But don’t allow that to interfere with your ability as a human to have an impact on another human being.
It doesn’t take a medical degree to be able to help. It only takes an open heart, ears that listen without judgment and a spirit of kindness to ensure our military and former military know they are cared about. Throwing a parade and waving a flag is great, but time spent getting to know them and their families and going to community events to support them and learn more about the path they have walked is even better.
Love and understanding can go a long way toward healing and can open doors to new opportunities — for them as well as for you; giving is receiving! Love and understanding can help us become a nation that shows its greatness not only in the power of its military, but in the power of its citizens to unite with the military, our veterans and their families to create communities that give and give back. That is some amazing history in the making that you can be a part of.
Pam Hays is president and founder of The Arms Forces, www.thearmsforces.org; (419) 891-2111.
Tags: Air Force, Anthony Wayne, Army, Coast Guard, Continental Army, Department of Defense, Gen. Anthony Wayne, Marine Corps, National Security Act of 1947, Navy, Pam Hays, Revolutionary War, The Arms Forces, U.S. Army, War Department