We're at the Mall, While They're at War

Posted: May 27, 2014 12:01 AM
We're at the Mall, While They're at War

This Memorial Day weekend there were thousands of parades, picnics and remembrance events for those who died fighting for the United States.

There were also sales and bargains for those that choose to spend the holiday traveling or shopping.

Like all holidays, Memorial Day is sometimes at risk of losing its meaning in our commercial society, as shoppers and travelers forget about the sacrifices our troops and their families make.

So here’s a gentle reminder after we all enjoyed time off from work and got our fill of backyard barbeques.

As you read this, hundreds and thousands of men and women in uniform, and millions of family members sacrifice comfort, treasure and freedoms so that the rest of us can be free. While we enjoy picnics, they are at war.


Really at war: right now, today, this very minute.

And our service members make sacrifices not just for Americans but also for people around the world, most of whom will never appreciate what they have done for them.

Service members like Petty Officers Peter Cully and Matthew Plungis, shipmates who I know personally, go on deployment, come home, find a job, only to go on deployment again. Say thanks to them by clicking on their link and posting to Facebook.

Families like the Lauren Schaffer family, in Colorado Springs, endure deployments every year it seems.

Children grow up, raised mostly by mommy or daddy or grandma, while one or both parents fight in a war.

Given the strain we put on our service members, it’s not surprising that some of those who serve in the military come back home only to face desperate financial need.

After this weekend, then, it is only fitting that we recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedoms. But we should also remember to help those living soldiers, sailors and airmen who continue to sacrifice to protect our freedoms.

USA Cares can help us do just that.

USA Cares is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that helps post-9/11 military families bear the burdens of service with financial and advocacy support. Its mission is to help with basic needs during financial crises, to assist combat injured Veterans and their families and to prevent private military home foreclosures and evictions.

Thanks to USA Cares, corporations have discovered that recognizing the courage and sacrifice of America’s military is actually good for business. USA Cares helps businesses understand that putting on a wristband, waving the flag, or hanging a “support our troops” sign in the window can help boost sales for sure.

But without true service to those who “serve us,” a commercial approach can backfire.

USA Cares shows companies how to support a developing trend that ought to be encouraged amongst more companies.

When companies partner with USA Cares, they know that they are making a positive difference.

Here are some examples:

  • Hardees and Carl’s Jr. recently announced a partnership with USA Cares and Homes for Our Troops. To participate, restaurant guests donate $1 in support of both of these military charities. For each $1 donation, guests receive a commemorative “Stars for Troops” cut out to personalize and place on display in the restaurant; in addition, they receive restaurant coupons valued at more than $10 to use toward future purchases.
  • Memorial Day is a great time to celebrate our freedoms and the invaluable contributions made by our Armed Forces.

    Remembering the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families is a great way for all of us to say “Thanks” to the troops.

    Supporting those businesses that help our troops through USACares is a great thing to do not only on Memorial Day, but all year long.

    The need is real, as are the soldiers and families who benefit.

    Plus, it gives everyone someone to remember on Memorial Day. Millions of someones, in fact.

  • Batteries Plus partnered with the nonprofit USA Cares and its Jobs for Vets Program by launching the “Time to Care” campaign. The company donated $5 of each regular and lifetime watch battery replacement to USA Cares over the Memorial Day holiday and will accept in-kind donations from customers at its retail locations. They also contributed $1 for every person who “likes” the Batteries Plus Facebook page and “supports” the USA Cares Jobs for Vets Cause page.
  • Upscale retailer Brighton Collectables designed a yellow ribbon charm to support the troops. With every $25 charm purchase, $20 was directly donated to USA Cares. Over the past three years, Brighton Collectables has supported USACares with over $200,000 from the sale of their “peace” bracelets.