Our Nation would not be what it is today, if we did not have Americans willing to sacrifice a great deal, along with their families, by serving in the military. Even though people may wish to do so and existing technology would indicate otherwise, growing numbers of Americans are unaware of how to properly honor and support those who have chosen to serve in uniform. Today, less than 10% of current Americans have ever served in the military, and less than 1% serves today. As our more senior veterans from World War II and the Korean War decrease in numbers daily, so does the percentage of Americans who have a genuine appreciation of their service to our country, or who have heard their stories or understood their hard-won lessons. Unfortunately, our social dynamics and institutions designed to assist these veterans as they age are ill-equipped to do so. Individual veterans can easily be lost in the system or could be forgotten right next door to any one of us. Instead, communities can reinforce success and enable those who want and can help. Veterans do not have to be victims; many have much to offer these communities. These efforts can better align local with National resources to address the different issues emerging for veterans from both later and earlier wars. For example, today’s veterans have several impacts - visible (lost limbs) and invisible (PTSD, TBI, etc). Those suffering the invisible wounds, as in wars past, make it harder for other people to pay attention to them and know how to REALLY help them. Sadly, the consequences are similar when society is not paying attention. Let’s make sure everyone pays attention.
How You Can Make A Difference:
With fewer people serving in the military in our society today, there is a huge awareness gap in many parts of our country. It can be difficult to know who has served when so few opportunities exist to even bring up the subject. Many who served honorably in the military services listed below, especially those who served years ago, may never have been thanked or appreciated for their service. When you find someone who has served, thanking them is a good start… asking them questions about his or her service will also increase your awareness of what it means to serve, and provide a better understanding of the myriad of issues veterans face. Your thoughtful questions can go far to respect their service while demonstrating you care enough to pay attention to any assistance a veteran may need.
Official Web Pages and brief description for all Military Services are provided below:
National Guard (Army and Air Guard) - http://www.ngb.army.mil/ (NGB Website) The National Guard, the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States, is one of the nation's longest-enduring institutions. The National Guard traces its history back to December 1636 and the earliest English colonies in North America. Following independence, the authors of the Constitution empowered Congress to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia." However, recognizing the militia's state role, the Founding Fathers reserved the appointment of officers and training of the militia to the states. Today's National Guard still remains a dual state-Federal force. Today, tens of thousands of Guardmembers are serving in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the National Guard continues its historic dual mission, providing the states trained and equipped units to protect life and property, while providing the nation units trained, equipped and ready to defend the United States and its interests, all over the globe. Guardmembers reside in all 50 states and four territories, and because they are citizen Soldiers and Airmen, they also hold jobs in our communities.
U.S. Army - http://www.army.mil/ (Official Army Website) On June 14, 1775, the United States Army was established to defend our Nation. From the Revolutionary War to the current operations taking place around the world, our Soldiers remain Army Strong with a deep commitment to our core values and beliefs. America’s Army – Soldiers, Families and Civilians – are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong. Being Army Strong goes beyond physical endurance and mental preparedness. It encompasses an indomitable spirit, and high ethical and moral values. These are not only desirable traits in a person, but in a Nation that wishes to live up to the ideals and vision of its founders. “America’s Army: The Strength of the Nation."
U.S. Navy - http://www.navy.mil/ The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The Continental Congress at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania created the Continental Navy in 13 October 1775. Today, all the world's oceans and much of the littoral are protected by the United States Navy, and United States naval power.
U.S. Marine Corps - http://www.usmc.mil/ (Wikipedia) The history of the United States Marine Corps began with the founding of the Continental Marines in 10 November 1775 to conduct ship-to-ship fighting, provide shipboard security and discipline enforcement, and assist in landing forces. Its mission evolved with changing military doctrine and foreign policy of the U.S. Owing to the availability of Marine forces at sea, the United States Marine Corps has served in nearly every conflict in U.S. history. It attained prominence when its theories and practice of amphibious warfare proved prescient, and ultimately formed a cornerstone of the Pacific Theater of World War II. By the early 20th century, the Marine Corps would become one of the dominant theorists and practitioners of amphibious warfare. Its ability to rapidly respond on short notice to expeditionary crises made and continues to make it an important tool for American foreign policy.
U.S. Coast Guard - http://www.uscg.mil/ The United States Coast Guard, one of the country's five armed services, is a unique agency of the federal government, tracing its history back to 4 August 1790, when the First Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling. Known variously through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service, it expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew, receiving its present name in 1915. Its national defense responsibilities remain one of its most important functions. In times of peace it operates as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation's front-line agency for enforcing our laws at sea, protecting the marine environment and our vast coastline and ports, and saving lives. In times of war, or at the direction of the President, it serves under the Navy Department.
U.S. Air Force - http://www.af.mil/ (Wikipedia) Prior to 1947, the responsibility for military aviation was divided between the Army (for land-based operations) and the Navy, for sea-based operations from aircraft carrier and amphibious aircraft. The U.S. Air Force became a separate military service in 1947. Today, The United States Air Force is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The United States Air Force is committed to flying, fighting and winning in air, space and cyberspace.