Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ways to Honor America

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the summer is full of opportunities to show our pride in our county. But beyond hanging the flag outside our homes and gazing at a night's sky lit up with red, white, and blue fireworks, there are other ways of honoring America and the men and women who protect it. Here are a few ideas from the Federal Citizen Information Center on how you can show your support:

Get active and involved by volunteering your time on public lands. The Take Pride in America Program lets you help protect local, state, and federal lands by getting your hands dirty. Collecting litter, building trails, or pulling weeds are just a few ways you can help. Make it a group or family activity, and volunteer to keep our public lands intact and beautiful.

The story of our country and those who have served is much deeper than the pages of history books. Why not go see for yourself where some of the greatest events in our nation actually happened? The National Park Service has preserved many battlefields and military parks where you can go to pay homage to those who have served, and get a feel for the places where history happened.

Our servicemen and women have earned the country's gratitude and respect. But some veterans and their families are unaware of the benefits to which they're also entitled. Direct any veterans or their dependents you know to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, so they can get the information they need about transition assistance, education benefits, pension plan options, and more.

Looking more for culture than sand and surf this summer? Our nation's capital is the place to be for family activities--many of which are free. Washington, DC is home to beautiful monuments, tons of museums, parks, and events. Besides touring the iconic Capitol building, wander the National Mall, and you never know when you'll stumble upon a free concert or festival paying tribute to the U.S.A.

We all live fast-paced, busy lives. The slower, more relaxed days of summer give us a chance to think about ways we can take pride in and be of service to our country. Use these ideas or others of your own to honor the country this summer--and all year round.

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