I was raised to honor and respect those who serve or have served in the United States Military, devoting their time, efforts, careers and sometimes their life to serving our country and its citizens.

My dad, Larry Raughton, served in the United States Navy during his younger years – not that he is old. During my lifetime, he was a Navy Reservist and deployed to Afghanistan during my freshman year in high school. My godfather and uncle, Gary Layton, also served in the Navy. My grandfather, Clyde Oliver, served in the Army and served in the Korean War, and my uncle, Gerald Raughton, served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

We all know Memorial Day is the last Monday in May; school’s out, high school seniors become college freshman, college students have graduated into adulthood. It is a time for change, but the month of May is a time for remembrance and appreciation also; it is National Military Appreciation Month.

There are five other observances during National Military Appreciation month.

The first day of May is previously known as Americanization Day recognized nationally since 1921; it was proclaimed Loyalty Day by President Eisenhower in 1955.

May 6 through May 12 is Public Service Recognition Week where we recognize and appreciate civilians in local, state and federal government positions. Without the daily efforts of these men and women, there may be no country to protect.

On May 8, 1945 the Germans surrendered to the Allies during World War II. Now on this date, we recognize V-Day also known as Victory in Europe Day.

As civilians, we strive to show honor and respect to our service men and women; however, we may not always think about the families of those soldiers who are making sacrificing as well. On the Friday in May prior to Mother’s Day –May 11– is Military Spouse Appreciation Day acknowledging the importance of military spouses and the role military families play.

Armed Forces Day – May 19– is to honor all those serving in every branch of the military and Memorial Day is to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Let us remember our service men and women this upcoming month and every day following. These men and women can often be identified by their car tags, uniforms, or even their ballcaps and apparel. Buy them dinner, leave them a note of appreciation or simply walk up to them and tell them thank you.

Hannah Raughton is a staff writer for the Times-Journal. Her email is hraughton@times-journal.com

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