Sun editorial: Honor the military on Armed Forces Day

Saturday is another opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who serve.

While Memorial Day and Veterans Day garner much of the attention when it comes to holidays that honor those who have served our country, this Saturday is another opportunity to say “thank you.”

Saturday is Armed Forces Day. It comes near the end of Armed Forces Week and dates to 1949 when there was an effort to combine various special days honoring the different branches of the military after the Department of Defense was established. That first year’s theme: “Teamed Up for Defense.”

So what’s the difference in the various holidays to honor those in the military? Memorial Day is geared toward those who gave their lives defending the nation. Veterans Day is more for those who served, and are now out of the military. And, of course, both are national holidays.

Armed Forces Day is a chance to honor those currently serving the nation. While there aren’t any paid days off associated with it, there are still plenty of reasons to recognize the day.

There are many ways to participate in Armed Forces Day. One of the most meaningful — and direct, in terms of helping those serving the country — is to send a “care” package. It’s not hard to do. One of the best places to start is the website of Operation Yellow Ribbon South Jersey: There you will find information about donating items or money and other ways you can make a difference in the lives of those in the military.

Another meaningful way to make a difference is to talk to your kids about what the day and service to one’s country mean. Perhaps they could write a short note to be included in a “care” package.

No matter how you choose to mark the day, please take a moment Saturday to recognize those who serve.