“ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL”
This quote was first uttered by Howard William Osterkamp. Howard was a Korean War Veteran and Purple Heart recipient who continued to fight for his country even after his leg was broken. He was acknowledging the fortuitous fact that he made it out of Korea with his life; whereas, approximately 36,574 soldiers did not. In 1868, long before Howard William was even a glint in his parents’ eyes, Americans began to celebrate Decoration Day every 30th of May. Today it is an official federal holiday which is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May, so many people do not have to work on Memorial Day. With the advent of this three day weekend, many have come to think of Memorial Day as the kickoff of summer. This is a reminder that you don’t have to sacrifice your barbecue in order to honor and remember those who gave all. There are numerous ways to support this holiday and the veterans it honors and it doesn’t matter how you decide to give back this Memorial Day. Just don’t forget to recognize that all veterans made a sacrifice in one way or another for your freedom.
You can donate to one of the many charitable organizations that support veterans, like Volunteers of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Purple Heart Veterans or T.A.P.S. The great thing about making donations to charitable organizations that serve veterans and their family is that most are deductible for tax purposes. If you own a business or are in a position to hire someone, then hire a veteran! Many businesses have been pro-active about hiring veterans and as a result the unemployment rate among veterans has dropped. In some instances, tax credits are available to businesses that hire veterans. An even more meaningful way to give, though, is to donate your time. Organizations such as Chicago Vets, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Operation Gratitude or Honor Flight Chicago are currently looking for volunteers. Of course, if you personally know a veteran in your life, then you could just give them a call to see how they are doing.