To members of our Armed Forces, holiday travel has special meaning. They’re often on their way to family reunions after being away from loved ones for many months. Sometimes they’re returning from dangerous duties in war-ravaged parts of the world, or on their way to a new challenge. There are a number of ways to show your gratitude to those in uniform you may encounter while traveling during the holiday season. Here are some ways you can make their journeys more enjoyable.
Be a greeter: At airport, train station or other travel sites, alone or with friends or family members, go to a busy terminal in your area during Thanksgiving season. Bring single servings of pre-packaged snacks and foods. Greet uniformed military members as they walk by, and offer the gifts along with your enthusiastic thanks for their service to our nation.
Offer to treat to a meal: Whether in an airport cafe or having dinner in a restaurant, you can show appreciation to one or more uniformed servicemen or women eating nearby. Offer to pay for their meal, or if appropriate, sit down to enjoy dining and conversation with them.
Share your ride: Busy airports and other travel terminals at holiday time mean heavy traffic all around. If you’re about to drive away in a private car or taxi after picking up family or friends, look around first. If you see a uniformed service person loaded down with luggage, ask if you can help by taking him or her to a more convenient destination.
Invite them to join your family Thanksgiving: Possibly the most appreciated gift to offer is a traditional holiday meal in your home, surrounded by loving family and friends. You can do this for just one invitee, or as a member of a church or club. Along with willing participants, expand the offer to a group of service people from a nearby military base.
Donate gifts of money: Give to organizations that serve the military. Check online or with your local branch of the USO (uso.org) and other service-related organizations. Find out how you can help make the Thanksgiving holiday more enjoyable for service people, both in the United States and throughout the world. You can help those whose duties will keep them away from home and family during this holiday season.
Ted Sherman has spent a lifetime traveling. With journeys to every continent, almost 100 cruises and multiple group tours, he enjoys sharing his travel experiences and knowledge with others. Follow Ted on Twitter, @travel4seniors and on his travel blog, travel4people.
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