While we try to always remember to honor our veterans, October 26th is marked as a day to pay special attention to those still currently deployed. Whether it’s overseas or in a place that is not that soldier's home, these brave men and women go where they are called and serve our country. This is a day dedicated to recognizing the continual sacrifices made not only by these soldiers but by their loved ones as well. Banyan Military & Veterans celebrates the National Day of the Deployed, explains its history, and how you can honor these courageous individuals and their families.
History of Day of the Deployed
The holiday was conceived by a woman named Shelle Michaels Aberle. In 2006, she approached North Dakota Governor John Hoeven in an attempt to garner support for the idea. Aberle’s cousin and North Dakota native, David Hosna, was a major deployed in Iraq at the time. When officials recognized our deployed troops through a formal proclamation, October 26th was chosen as the first Day of the Deployed to honor Hosna, as it is his birthday. He later retired as a colonel.
In 2011, Senator Hoeven led efforts to declare it a national holiday by co-sponsoring S.RES.295. On October 18th of that year, it was unanimously passed, and the first national day honoring deployed troops and their loved ones was celebrated days later. By 2012, all 50 states began observing the National Day of the Deployed.
Why Do We Celebrate?
Deployments can last anywhere from 90 days to 15 months at a time. Having your loved one deployed can present a number of stressors and challenges. Regardless of if a soldier ever sees battle, being deployed away from their homes can be an incredibly taxing experience not only for themselves but their families as well. This day seeks to acknowledge this struggle and recognize their inherent bravery when putting their lives on the line in the name of our freedom.
It also highlights the everyday struggles of military families. This can include a child missing their parent(s), husbands or wives missing their spouses, or parents whose children are serving. For safety reasons, these families may not be able to know where exactly their loved one is. As of today, there are roughly 40,000 active soldiers serving on classified assignments.
How to Observe the National Day of the Deployed
There are numerous ways to pay your respects to this special day. One of the simplest methods would be to post to social media, including #DayOfTheDeployed.
Other ways people can participate and remember those deployed include:
- Display a yellow ribbon, which serves as a sign that you are acknowledging someone serving far from home. It can be tied to a tree, a mailbox, or displayed on your front porch.
- Send care packages to deployed soldiers.
- Offer to support military personnel who don’t have a family to come home to.
- Volunteer with a local military organization.
- Donate to organizations like the USO, an organization that provides support to military families before, during, and after deployment.
- Attend local ceremonies honoring the military.
- Reach out to any military families you know and ask both if they need support and what kind that could be. For instance, some people simply need someone to sit down with them and listen to their stories.
What Can We Get Out of This Day?
Banyan’s military rehab center believes that National Day of the Deployed gives people an important reminder to acknowledge what we can’t always see firsthand. There are people in the world fighting for our freedom as we speak. We shouldn’t have to wait until they retire from the armed services to give them the honor they deserve. Additionally, it gives us the chance to give back to the families of these soldiers who continue to sacrifice time with their loved ones. These are special people who are worthy of support, love, and consideration.
Finally, it gives us all a chance to come together. There is a lot nowadays that seeks to divide Americans, but recognizing the contributions of our servicemen and women can serve as an amazing opportunity to put those aside for the greater good.
Even when these soldiers return home, they deserve support and understanding. It is difficult for many of us to understand what they have gone through, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Our veterans’ addiction treatment center is equipped with a variety of programs and mental health services designed to aid them in their task of readjusting to everyday life. People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are especially susceptible to addiction, which is why our facilities offer a variety of care levels with this in mind.