In my early childhood, I was lucky to be raised in a small New Jersey town where American flags covered the yards and lined the sidewalks every American holiday. There were separate parades for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day where the whole town would set up their lawn chairs to cheer. I can still remember the anticipation as I looked down the parade route waiting to see my dad and Pop Pop marching. They were both members of the VFW Auxillary (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and as I stood waiting, I waved my American flag as hard as I could. At 5-years-old I didn’t fully recognize or comprehend that feeling I had, but as I grew older it was clear to see that it was…pride! That good old American Pride feeling is what I want my kids to experience as I did then and carry with me.
The biggest reason for my patriotism is because I grew up in a military family. My grandfathers, father, uncles, and cousins have served and cover each branch of our military. To me, there is not a more prideful career than serving our country. The unselfishness our service men, women, AND their families have so they can protect us, is not easy. As the daughter of a career Navy Veteran, I know the feeling of having your loved one overseas. Not having them at your basketball games, school plays, and even holidays is a tough reality to endure. Imagine being worried in the back of your mind all of the time about their safety while knowing they are in harm’s way. My kids will never know that feeling because their dad and I are not in the military but we are sure to talk about these heroes (especially around these holidays) so they will truly honor and respect those who do serve our great country.
We can do so much to show our love, support, and pride for the USA and the service men and women who fight for us every day! Here are some things you can do with your kids to help raise them, American Proud.
1. Send a care package to our troops and have your kids draw a picture that says “Thank you for your service.” Visit https://supportourtroops.org/care-packages.
2. Donate or volunteer to military families at https://www.militaryfamily.org.
3. Decorate your home with the American Flag on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day! Show your kids how proud you are as a family to live in this great country.
4. Attend a 4th of July Parade, Memorial Day, or Veterans Day Parade. Make sure to stand and cheer for any military marching! Hold your right hand over your heart when you stand for the American Flag. Only members of the armed forces, veterans, and individuals in uniform should give the military salute.
5. When you see a person in uniform, go up to them and thank them for their service! Some veterans will wear a ball cap or shirt that states they are a military vet and they love to hear those words too.
No matter the age of your kids, it’s so important to teach them how to respect, honor and care for our military, country, and the American Flag. The United States of America has been described as the light of the world and raising your kids to be American Proud will go a long way in paving a bright future for all.