By Susan Ciancio
Building a culture of life requires us to not only respect all people but to help them see how they are valued. We can do this in many ways throughout the year—with the young and old, with the born and preborn, and with the sick and healthy. But there are certain days of the year that warrant us expressing our gratitude to a sector of the population we should always thank, and that is our military members. This week, we have two special days—the Marine Corps birthday (November 10) and Veterans’ Day (November 11).
We all know that freedom isn’t free. It is bought and paid for by the men and women who valiantly and heroically protect our country and its citizens. Teaching our children to appreciate the military, to do kind things for our service members and their families, and to truly understand the sacrifice these men and women make is a crucial aspect of fostering a culture that understands the importance of service to others.
In 1 Peter, we read, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Those who serve in the military certainly share their gift with others. There are few other professions that require such selfless service.
So as we approach these two days to honor and celebrate those who serve us, we encourage you to help the men and women in our military feel valued and appreciated.
Let us thank them with both our words and our actions. This weekend—and always—be on the lookout for men and women in uniform. Don’t be afraid to approach them, to shake their hand, and to thank them for their service. If you have the means and run into them at a restaurant or cafe, offer to buy them a coffee, a treat, or a meal.
Pray for their safety. This is something we can all do. In fact, it can be a great way to not only teach empathy to your children but to introduce them to a new saint. St. Michael the Archangel is the patron of the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the military in general. St. Barbara is patron saint of the Marine Corps. St. George is the patron saint of soldiers and the Army. And St. Nicholas is the patron saint of the Navy. Read about the lives of these saints and then, as a family, ask for their intercession for our military members.
Remember that the families of our servicemen and women make sacrifices too. They endure the separations and the worry that come with knowing their loved one may be in harm’s way. If you have friends or neighbors who are part of the military community, check in on them. Offer to assist with yard work, to take care of children, or to help around the house. They will appreciate your support more than you can imagine.
Building a culture of life where we put others before ourselves is a vital lesson—and one that we should try to teach on a daily basis. So when special days—like the Marine Corps birthday or Veterans’ Day—occur, let us take the time to help our children see the importance of those we may not see every day but who take care of us every minute of every day.
Our military members are vital to the safety and security of our country. We will forever be thankful. And that is why we must speak up and help them—and our communities—understand their immense value.