Memorial Day Tributes: This Year, Say More Than ‘Thank You’.

Why ‘Thank You’ Is Just the Beginning on Memorial Day

Thank you for your service. It’s a phrase that has become almost synonymous with Memorial Day (and to some extent, Veteran’s Day) in America. From billboards to TV ads, graphic design to greeting cards, these 5 words are the catch-all catchphrase that stands for a debt of gratitude that American citizens cannot possibly repay.

And so, with so much to be grateful for in a free country, it might be time to ask ourselves: “Shouldn’t we try to say just a bit more?”

This Memorial Day, say more than "Thank you for your service". (Credit: Peter Salerno Inc.)
This Memorial Day, say more than “Thank you for your service”. (Credit: Peter Salerno Inc.)

This line of thinking actually started a year ago, when we met with Peter Salerno, owner of our parent company Peter Salerno Inc. and a veteran of the United States Navy. On our way out of the meeting leading up to Memorial Day, we turned at the door and stated, “Hey – thank you for your service.”

Peter smiled, of course, and nodded his head in a “you’re welcome”. Later that day, we realized that while we meant what we said, Peter was probably going to hear the same 5 words dozens more times over the next several days, and had for decades before that.

This isn’t to say that veterans aren’t happy to hear “thank you for your service”. At their core, most American military veterans are humble, modest, and shy away from personal praise. They’re not looking for individual recognition or to be ‘singled out’ for their heroism and valor.

Peter Salerno, during his service in the U.S. Navy. Happy Memorial Day!
Peter Salerno, during his service in the U.S. Navy. Happy Memorial Day!

But just because our military heroes don’t ASK for more than a ‘thank you’ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t GIVE it to them.

Think about your own life – what you do, where you’ve been, and what roles you’ve come to occupy in your life. If you’re a teacher, it must be lovely to get your first few “World’s Best Teacher” gifts. As an actor, your first “Break a leg!” is a cool thing to hear. But after countless repetitions of the same well wishes and compliments – whether we mean it or not – those common refrains start to ring a bit hollow and a bit dry.

It doesn’t take much to put a little more effort into your gratitude this Memorial Day! 

If you have a family member, friend, loved one, neighbor or colleague that has served in our nation’s military, take an extra few minutes to find out more about their service, their personal likes and interests. “Design” the military veterans in your life a special show of your thanks – even if it’s as simple as crafting a new way to say “Thank you for your service”.

Take a little time to help a veteran with a project, errand or work around their home. Volunteer to drive an elderly veteran to a Memorial Day Parade or out to lunch. Or do something that’s increasingly rare these days – pick up the phone, send a letter, or make a personal visit.

To the U.S. military veterans and those who gave their lives in service of our country – we know “thank you” isn’t enough to repay you. We also know that you don’t ask for our gratitude, recognition or payment – your sacrifice is selfless. Regardless of why or how you entered the military, the fact remains that you gave of yourselves for the greater good of our country, and you personally protected the freedom and security of families like mine that you will never know or meet.

So this year, we’re choosing not to “thank you for your service”. Because in many ways, we should be thanking you for everything.

Observe 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service With Us!

Observe the 2017 MLK Day of Service With Us!

As a wise relative once told us, “Your small blessings can become very big when you share them with the world.”

Monday, January 16, 2017 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States – a day on which to remember one of the greatest social influencers, champions of peace and public servants in American history. It’s a day to reflect on how we can change the world in a positive manner – but it’s also a day to DO something to make the world better!

(And yes, we are a style and design blog – but nothing is more stylish than serving others.)

Take part in the 2017 MLK Day of Service!
Take part in the 2017 MLK Day of Service!

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the 2017 MLK Day of Service “is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps empower and strengthen local communities.”

Their motto (which we LOVE): Martin Luther King, Jr. Day might be a holiday – but it’s not a day off, it’s a day on!

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” — The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The mission statement of MLK Day of Service is to form a three-step plan to positively impact your community and the world around you.

  1. PLAN. Develop a plan to help those in need in whatever way you can. If you can donate to a local food bank (like our parent company does every Thanksgiving), go for it! If you’re involved in a trade, help fix up housing in disrepair. Whatever you can do to help is welcome – share your time and talent with those who can benefit from it!
  2. SERVE. If you are having trouble figuring out how to spend your MLK Day of Service, use this official list of recommended community projects to find a worthy cause in your neighborhood. Whether it’s on Martin Luther King Day or a day shortly after, make the commitment and devote some time!
  3. IMPACT. Tell the world about your Day of Service (or days!) and register your pledge to serve. Pledge a number of hours in your state, and note what area of service is receiving your time and effort. Not only will you inspire others to follow suit, but you will also help local government and charitable organizations see what areas of need still exist in your community!

Honor Dr. King's legacy with MLK Day of Service!
Honor Dr. King’s legacy with MLK Day of Service!
No matter what you choose to do for 2017’s Martin Luther King Day of Service, take the initiative and DO SOMETHING! Together, we can change the world – but only if we get up and try.

We, along with our parent company and staff at Peter Salerno Inc., honor and revere the legacy of non-violence, social activism, and peaceful progress that was left by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and wish you all a day of peace, love, and service.