May is a big military month – Armed Forces Day happens on the 15th and of course, Memorial Day on May 31st.
Both are great opportunities to remember what our military has done for our country. But, actually, the whole month of May has been designated as Military Appreciation Month as decreed by the United States Congress beginning in 1999.
Today, approximately 480,000 active duty and 1.1 million reservists voluntarily serve in our military – that may sound like a lot, but in fact, it is less than one percent of our total population which numbers approximately 332,632,000.
Even though we’re not in a world war like happened in the 1940s, thousands of American soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen are deployed each year.
In 2020 we’ve seen troops mobilized in new ways here on the home front to assist in COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts and more.
Plus, there are more than 18 million veterans in the United States.
We want to make sure these individuals do not feel forgotten and that their service and sacrifice – in any form – is recognized and appreciated.
Take an opportunity during Military Appreciation Month to share your thoughts and gratitude for what these people have done to help our country.
Leave a comment about someone in your life who has served in the military.
I’ll share mine later this month.
This month is also the time when we take the effort to express appreciation for our mothers (5/9). I am adding thoughts of a friend of mine whose mother, Margaret (‘Maggie’) Ray Ringenberg, served as a WASP (Women’s Air Service Pilots) during World War II. Marsha Ringenberg Wright has written a book about her mother’s service:
Maggie Ray; World War II Air Force Pilot (available on Amazon). I have the book and it is very well written and interesting.
I asked Marsha to share some thoughts about growing up with a mom who had been plucky enough to volunteer to be in the military during World War II when many people didn’t think women should be in the war, let alone flying planes. Here is what she wrote:
“Mom’s experience as a WASP was foundational to many other things she did and they in turn changed my life:
1. She was a flight instructor. She taught me to fly. I soloed on my 16th birthday and got my private pilot’s license on my 17th.
2. Mom was a race pilot in the Powder Puff Derby, a cross-country race for women. I flew with her on three times. I loved sightseeing at the beginning of the races!
3. Mom was a race pilot in smaller races in Indiana and in Michigan. Sometimes she would get me a plane and a co-pilot and I would race against her.
4. She has been gone since 2008, but she still has an influence on her family. Her great-grandson, Ethan, was at our home working on a paper and a speech. He had to write and speak about a significant person in history.
I suggested he write it about his great-grandma. Wow! Was he ever excited.
He may start his speech with…”Hold up your hand if you have a great-grandma who has flown a race around the world. Hold up your hand if you have a great-grandma who was a WASP in WWII. Hold up your hand if you have a great-grandma who has raced across the USA 51 times. (Pause) Oh. I guess no one has. Oh…wait! I can hold up MY hand.”
It is obvious Marsha is proud of her mother and rightly so.
Margaret’s World War II story as a WASP is featured in my book, We Fought to Win: American World War II Veterans Share Their Stories. There is also a Kindle version!
Her picture is included in my new book, Women of WWII Coloring Book.
We have to teach our kids about good role models. I can’t think of anyone better than our veterans.
Was your mother or another female member in the military? Please share in Comments below how her role there influenced you.
On Mother’s Day I’ll share a humorous story about my own mother who was not in the military but a great example in so many ways. It is one of my highest viewed posts each year and is sure to bring a chuckle.
Thanks to all veterans and their families for your service!