April, May are important months to honor vets, families

2013-04-21T12:00:00Z April, May are important months to honor vets, familiesLarry Zimmerman, Secretary South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs Rapid City Journal

For many of us the months of April and May are thought of as the months for planting, nurturing, and growing flowers and gardens.

It is also a time when we should be cultivating and flourishing our support for our military personnel, our veterans, and their families.

April is the month of the Military Child and May is Military Appreciation month. Both months provide us great opportunities to remember, recognize, and appreciate those who have served in the past and those now serving, as well as their families.

National Military Appreciation month includes: Loyalty Day (May 1), Victory in Europe Day (May 8), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 10), Armed Forces Day (May 18); and Memorial Day (May 27).

Each of those days provides an opportunity to learn more about military members and the families who have given of themselves to support the principles we hold dear and the freedom we enjoy.

Over 16,000 South Dakota men and women have deployed since 9-11, heroes who set aside their personal lives and safety to defend and protect our families, our communities and our nation from those who would threaten our way of life.

Many of these troops will continue to serve.

Others will return to the civilian population and we need to support them during their transition from military service to civilian.

Please keep all the deployed and their families in your thoughts and pray for their safe return home.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the open house at the “Operation Black Hills Cabin” in Custer.

This project, founded in 2011 by a retired military couple, demonstrates South Dakota’s commitment to our military personnel, our veterans, and their families.

Over 100 businesses in the Custer area working together to provide a vacation home for qualifying wounded veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and their families. These businesses have demonstrated their commitment to our veterans.

With over 70,000 veterans in South Dakota, it is important that we cultivate, nurture, and grow this type of leadership and generosity, thus improving the lives of our veterans.


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