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Hiring Vets

How to Observe Memorial Day with Veterans

On the last Monday of May, Americans observe Memorial Day. But the purpose of Memorial Day is often lost on a large part of the American public. According to a 2019 survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix, only 55 percent of Americans know the true meaning of Memorial Day.

What is Memorial Day?

The short answer is Memorial Day is when we take a moment to honor the men and women who have died in service to our country.

PBS dives a little deeper into the history of Memorial Day saying, “It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers.”

“During that first national commemoration, former Union Gen. and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.”

How is Memorial Day different from Veterans Day?

Make no mistake, Memorial Day is not Veterans Day. For one thing, Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday in May, while Veterans Day is November 11.

But it’s more than that. Memorial Day honors the fallen, while Veterans Day honors the people who have served their country. In other words, veterans honored on Veterans Day can still be alive.

Should I thank a veteran on Memorial Day?

Do not thank a veteran on Memorial Day.

For many veterans, Memorial Day is a day that they are remembering the friends that they lost while in service. As one Navy Veteran told NPR, “On Memorial Day, the veteran you’re talking to may be going through a bit of melancholy remembering people who died over the years.”

Be mindful that for many veterans, this is a day of mourning.

Is “Happy Memorial Day” okay to say?

As stated earlier, Memorial Day is meant to be a day of mourning, so saying “Happy Memorial Day” isn’t something you want to do.

What should I say instead of Happy Memorial Day?

According to the website DiversityInc, consider the following phrases:

  • “Enjoy your weekend, but I want you to know that I will be remembering what this holiday is about.”
  • “Enjoy your weekend and I will be thinking about those that are no longer with us.”
  • “I will be taking a moment this weekend to honor those that served our nation and are no longer with us.”

How can I observe Memorial Day in the time of COVID-19?

In this time of COVID-19, it will be more difficult to observe Memorial Day. According to Military.com, national cemeteries will be open, though flags will not be placed at gravesites as they have in years past. Depending on the local rules in your city or county, you may also be required to wear a mask when you visit a gravesite at a national cemetery.

If you have a loved one that you would like to honor, the American Legion is using social media to honor the fallen. You can find out how to sign up, here.

According to the Memorial Day Foundation, if you fly the American flag at your facility, you can fly it at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day. It’s tradition to then raise the flag to full-staff until sunset.

You can also participate in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3:00 p.m. local time. It’s a moment to pause and think about the meaning of Memorial Day. Taps can also be played at this moment.

Why Military Veterans Make Great Employees

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It’s no secret the military veterans are prized employees, but have you thought about just how valuable they can be?

1. They have some of the best training in the world. Their job calls for operating all sorts of equipment and cutting-edge technology sometimes on a moment’s notice. With this practice, they have adaptability to quickly learn new technologies and skills necessary to succeed on the job.

2. They are experts in specific detailed communication. Imagine guiding a pilot landing a jet that is carrying a 500-pound bomb on a ship. Clear precise communication is key for the fate of the lives of those on the ship and the plane. How about giving instructions to an injured, foreign civilian who speaks no English? This scenario equips soldiers to interact sensitively and quickly across diverse cultures.

3. They’re the ultimate team player. Living together with a crew out at sea, in the desert, jungle or the forest has its perks, but room for discomfort, especially if you’ll be there for months at a time. Calm disposition and quick action, for the troop’s safety and morale, are imperative if you’re fighting enemy fire side by side with a fellow, injured soldier.

4. They’re singularly focused on mission objectives. This frame of thought helps veterans look at the bigger picture and focus on winning battles during the ultimate tests of distractions and emotional highs and lows.

5. They’re relentless in their approach because they don’t know how to quit. They have made the ultimate sacrifices, leaving behind family and friends at home, putting that on hold to defend citizens’ freedoms and lives. Military slogans, such as “Army Strong” and “Serve Before Self”, are just defining traits of their work ethics. This commitment translates to dedication and persistence in the work place.
Not only have they been trained to know how to do all the things listed above, but they’ve also implemented their training in real-life, stressful, high stakes situations.  In reality, you can’t find any civilian that is as trained and experienced as former military personnel.

In order to honor the service of our patriotic service men and women our government has made some fantastic incentives for you to hire military veterans.

When companies hire soldiers returning from active duty, they could be eligible for up to $2400-9600 in tax credits. Hiring unemployed veterans could qualify businesses for as much as $5,800 while providing jobs to disabled servicemen and women rewards business up to 9,600 over a two-year period. Plus, more pending, veteran hiring incentives are on the voting agendas in Washington.

For now, this is a great opportunity to give back to those who have served. The reward is a well-rounded employee, thus saving your business hiring and training costs, and a lucrative tax credit, all for your bottom line.

To find out how much you’ve been missing in tax credit savings, you can use our free calculator here.

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