In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May (the fourth if the month begins on a Sunday, as in 2016).
First observed on 20 May 1950, the day was created on 31 August 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the U.S. Department of Defense. It was intended to replace the separate Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.
If you’ve recently married into the military, or you or your spouse has just joined, you may be feeling both nervous and excited about the future.
During the adjustment period, spouses take on new roles, adapt to new schedules and learn new ways of handling many of life’s obstacles. To successfully do so, it’s helpful to know about the military spouse support available to you.
What’s on the installation
Your installation Military and Family Support Center is a good place to start for anything from local recreational opportunities and a personalized introduction to installation services including spouse career and employment opportunities, personal financial management classes, activities for children and families, military spouse resources and more.
Staying positive during a deployment
The power of being positive, along with a little help from friends and family, can make time apart from your partner your time to shine. Follow our tips to stay positive and make that time go by just a little bit faster.
Living on an installation for the first time
You may experience many emotions if you’re planning to live on an installation for the first time as a military spouse. While it’s perfectly understandable to feel some uncertainty, there are several ways to ensure the transition is a success:
Be proactive and keep a positive attitude. Take advantage of opportunities offered to you on the installation.
Get your children involved in activities. The installation youth center offers a wide range of sports, activities, events and social clubs. This is also a great way to meet other parents.
Get to know your neighbors. Other families are getting used to the new installation too.
Participate in military community activities. Pay attention to upcoming events and join in the fun. You can try new things and meet new people at the same time.
Stay in touch with the military spouse online community
You might be amazed at what you can accomplish on your own and with a little help from other military spouses. The Blog Brigade is the place to read about tips from other military spouses around the world.
Spouse education and career opportunities
Continuing your education or advancing your career when you’re constantly on the move can be tough. But there are many employment and education resources that are only available to military spouses.
Whether you’re in need of help writing a resume or simply deciding what career is best for you, the MySECO website is your one-stop shop. MySECO provides education and career guidance to military spouses worldwide, offering comprehensive resources and tools related to career exploration, education, training and licensing, employment readiness and career connections.
Depending on your individual interests and skills, there are many job opportunities available to you. Get your resume ready and explore what’s out there, on and off the installation.
There certain preferences for military spouses when applying for Department of Defense civilian jobs. With the help of the Military Spouse Preference Program, you can build your career as you move with the military.
If your job requires a professional license or certification and you move due to a permanent change of station, you can apply for up to $1,000 in reimbursement of re-licensure or certification fees from your service branch.
A move overseas can shake up your world as new possibilities and experiences await you. Finding a job overseas as a military spouse presents a unique set of challenges. Here are some tips to help you with your search:
Confidential non-medical counseling
Both Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program offer services for life situations, such as coping with deployments.
Having a baby when your partner is deployed
When your partner is deployed, there are ways to bridge the distance before and after your child’s birth.
Enroll in the right TRICARE region.
Enroll in childbirth classes at your installation’s hospital or military treatment facility.
Get a medical power of attorney. Choose someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf in the unlikely event medical staff can’t get your or your partner’s consent. Visit your legal assistance office for more information.
Familiarize yourself with local Red Cross procedures. This way, when you go into labor you can have your medical provider notify your partner.
When you become your spouse’s caregiver
When your spouse is severely injured or has a debilitating illness, you face the prospect of starting a whole new chapter of your life—one you hadn’t expected. Becoming your spouse’s caregiver presents a unique set of challenges that can affect you emotionally and physically, and can often seem overwhelming. Read about common reactions to becoming a caregiver, resources for support and tips on taking care of yourself throughout the caregiving process.
All military jobs take dedication, and being a military spouse is no different. We hope this list of resources can help you through any challenges that may arise along the way.
Tall, dark, and handsome describes the former Green Beret turned firefighter and now actor Jeff Bosley. You’ve seen him on the screen in Take Point, Seal Team, Ray Donovan, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He plays Nomad in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops III. He’s a true-life hero who served in the Special Forces–a secret society of the nation’s finest warriors that nobody knows, ones who are in it for the honor but never get the glory.
So how on earth did this Idaho native go from down-home good ol’ boy to badass Special Forces guy to a first responder …and then finally settle in the land of make believe? Join me as I learn a bit about Jeff–how he got to where he is today and where he’s headed.
Tell me a little about why you chose to go into the Army, then on to Special Forces …. what are some of your best memories from those years?
It was a convoluted journey, to be honest. I have some random cousins and uncles who served, but I didn’t come from one of those heavily populated military families. I spent many years chasing college degrees because that’s what I assumed you are supposed to do. Then, after 9/11, I still resisted the urge to serve. I had always wanted to, but the longer I put it off, the more hesitant I became. I look back and think it was an odd fear of leaving the comfort of the normal life I had finally carved out. Finally, when I was nearing 30, I decided if I didn’t do it, I would forever regret it.
I chose Special Forces right out of the gate because I’d always wanted to serve and once I finally did, I knew I wanted to be in the Special Forces community: All or None.
How was your transition out of the military? How did you choose firefighting?
It wasn’t too bad. Thanks to so much college prior to serving, my transition into the civilian world wasn’t too bad when it came to interviews and resume writing, etc. I was actually in the middle of ETS-ing from Group [“expiration–term of service,” or leaving the military] when I first tested for the Fire Department. I passed the requisite tests and then began the Fire Academy in lieu of the ETS process. It was absolutely chaotic.
I knew I wanted to continue serving in a small unit team capacity. Law enforcement just started getting so hamstrung that I knew it wasn’t for me. Firefighting was always appealing to me when considering options other than the military. I was a volunteer firefighter in college, so it made sense to go back to it. I loved the four-person shifts and how they emulated the tight-knit community of an ODA [“Operational Detachment Alphas,” which are small, versatile Special Forces teams].
When did you know perfecting your craft and solely focusing on acting was the right move?
As a kid, if I could have had some higher power come out of the sky and give me my wish, it would have always been to be in movies and television. When I grew up, the practical side of me took me to the Special Forces.
However, after wrapping up my SF career, my firefighter career was missing something. After the perfect storm of events, including divorce and other personal “stuff,” I finally said “fu** it” and went for it. I had spent tons of time in the theatre and in college theatre, practicing, studying and performing…why not finally just go for it.? I guess I looked at it like I had nothing to lose. Just like my decision to go into Special Forces–I’d forever regret it if I didn’t try.
How has your military training and experiences helped you navigate Hollywood and your pursuit of an acting career?
It helps me DAILY! Whether grinning and bearing some inconvenience or navigating the city of with an SF-learned psychological warfare attitude…my entire career helps me tolerate the chaos, uncertainty and uncontrollable business that is Hollywood. I’m continuing my formal acting studies and experiences, which helps me in the business and in the art and craft aspect of the city. But the skills learned during my SF service certainly help me become more marketable for certain roles. Many roles demand weapons training or feature characters that have a history of military experience and so on. Merging the craft of acting with the skills of SF often helps me stand out and deliver more believable performances because of the amalgamation of all I’ve seen and done.
What is your view of the Flag controversy since you have served not only in the military but also as a first responder?
I abhor it. Yet, patiently and frustratingly, I respect it. I know the meaning and the message many argue it represents, but I personally cannot EVER support kneeling towards the flag after all I’ve seen and done. To me, it is the last symbolic hope that we should all agree on and unite towards. Anything less is wrong. And I say that knowing that all I believe in and fought for is what allows this difference of opinions, and I firmly respect that. We can disagree and still be friends. I’ll just never do it.
What are some of your passion projects?
The kid in me loves comics and action and adventure. I spent a lot of time working to get The Punisher brought to life and would love to see that come to fruition some day. I’m also a huge fan of great books and novels, and there are a handful of series I’d kill to see brought to the screen. I’d love to play Sandman Slim or even the main character, Joel, from The Last of Us, a great video game for the PlayStation system.
Other than that, one of my closest friends in life and in filmmaking Scott Seagren and I are always working on his scripts, whether pitching them to Netflix (which we are currently doing with three under our Scruff Brothers Films umbrella), making them ourselves, or working to collaborate with others to bring them to life. I love acting and circumstantially producing and directing, so any chance to do those as a career is a gift in my eyes.
To keep up with Jeff Bosley, be sure to check out www.jeffbosley.com. You can also follow him on Instagram @thejeffbosley, Twitter @thejeffbosley, Facebook @thejeffbosley, and Vimeo @jeffbosley.
As someone who cares about a service member, you may have questions about how the military ensures equal opportunity and acceptance of individual differences among all its members. The DOD has taken steps to root out bias, ensure the military reflects the nation’s diversity and promote an environment in which every member is treated with dignity and respect.
Over the coming months, there will be an effort to get input from service members – both officers and enlisted – to hear their views and concerns about diversity and inclusion in the military.
Some changes have been implemented to advance diversity and inclusion. Military leaders have been charged with making equal opportunity and inclusion a priority. Your service member may have already benefited from some recent changes, including:
Removing photographs and references to race, ethnicity and gender from personnel files in promotion and selection processes. This eliminates the risk of bias when considering a candidate for a promotion, assignment, training, education or command.
Enacting stronger protections against harassment and discrimination including prohibiting discrimination because of pregnancy.
Training to detect and respond appropriately to bias – both conscious and unconscious. Service members and leaders are also receiving training on recognizing and understanding the impact of their own biases and prejudices.
Reviewing hairstyle and grooming policies for racial bias.
Training for commanders on guiding discussions on discrimination, prejudice and bias.
As an ongoing effort, the DOD collects and analyzes information to identify prejudice and bias, measure the effectiveness of its actions and expose areas requiring improvement.
Longer-term steps toward diversity and inclusion
Building upon the above, the Department of Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion has recommended further steps to improve racial and ethnic diversity and broaden equal opportunity in the military. These recommendations include:
Updating recruiting content annually to reflect the nation’s racial and ethnic makeup.
Diversifying senior-level positions so they reflect the nation’s racial and ethnic makeup.
Identifying and removing barriers to diversity in aptitude tests while retaining a rigorous screening process.
Identifying and removing barriers to senior leadership for diverse candidates.
Disclosing demographic information about promotion selection rates. This will improve transparency and reinforce the DOD’s focus on achieving equity across all grades.
Creating a diversity and inclusion mobile app and website that will allow service members to easily connect with each other and locate resources.
Prohibiting involvement with extremist or hate group activity.
To ensure continued progress, the DOD has established the independent Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in the Armed Services. This committee will continue the work of examining any and all issues that will improve equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion in the military.
Diverse and inclusive ranks are essential to morale, force cohesion and readiness. Your service member plays an important role in maintaining an environment that values and respects individual differences.
When the sun rises over Omaha Beach, revealing vast stretches of wet sand extending toward distant cliffs, one starts to grasp the immensity of the task faced by Allied soldiers on June 6, 1944, landing on the Nazi-occupied Normandy shore.
Several ceremonies were held Sunday to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the decisive assault that led to the liberation of France and western Europe from Nazi control, and honor those who fell.
“These are the men who enabled liberty to regain a foothold on the European continent, and who in the days and weeks that followed lifted the shackles of tyranny, hedgerow by Normandy hedgerow, mile by bloody mile,” Britain’s ambassador to France, Lord Edward Llewelyn, said at the inauguration of a new British monument to D-Day’s heroes.
On D-Day, more than 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold, carried by 7,000 boats. This year on June 6, the beaches stood vast and nearly empty as the sun emerged, exactly 77 years since the dawn invasion.
For the second year in a row, anniversary commemorations were marked by virus travel restrictions that prevented veterans or families of fallen soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Canada and other Allied countries from making the trip to France. Only a few officials were allowed exceptions.
At the U.K. ceremony near the village of Ver-sur-Mer, bagpipes played memorial tunes and warplanes zipped overhead trailing red-white-and-blue smoke. Socially distanced participants stood in awe at the solemnity and serenity of the site, providing a spectacular and poignant view over Gold Beach and the English Channel.
The new monument pays tribute to those under British command who died on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy. Visitors stood to salute the more than 22,000 men and women, mostly British soldiers, whose names are etched on its stone columns. Giant screens showed D-Day veterans gathered simultaneously at Britain’s National Memorial Aboretum to watch the Normandy event remotely. Prince Charles, speaking via video link, expressed regret that he couldn’t attend in person.
On June 6, 1944, “In the heart of the mist that enveloped the Normandy Coast … was a lightning bolt of freedom,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly told the ceremony. “France does not forget. France is forever grateful.”
Most public events have been canceled, and the official ceremonies are limited to a small number of selected guests and dignitaries.
Denis van den Brink, a WWII expert working for the town of Carentan, site of a strategic battle near Utah Beach, acknowledged the “big loss, the big absence is all the veterans who couldn’t travel.”
“That really hurts us very much because they are all around 95, 100 years old, and we hope they’re going to last forever. But, you know…” he said.
“At least we remain in a certain spirit of commemoration, which is the most important,” he told The Associated Press.
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are officially working on a new WWII-inspired series with star director, Cary Joji Fukunaga.
He is signed on to direct the first three episodes of the 10-part series. Fukunaga is also in the midst of working on the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die, which has been put off to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Masters of the Air is the name of the series, which is based on the Donald L. Miller book of the same name. It follows American bomber pilots of the U.S. Eighth Air Force who aimed to bring the fight straight to Hitler inside the borders of Nazi Germany. It’s considered to be the third installment of the Band of Brothers and The Pacific set of World War II miniseries.
Armed Forces Bank (AFB), a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907, recently announced a new partnership with A Million Thanks to send thank you letters to military members serving around the world. A Million Thanks is a national organization that collects and distributes letters of support and thanks directly to active duty, reserve and veteran military men and women. AFB was recently named the official financial services partner for A Million Thanks.
Beginning May 17 during National Military Appreciation Month, AFB branch locations will become official A Million Thanks“Send A Letter” collection sites with drop boxes available for bank clients and community members to send notes of appreciation. Drop boxes will be available in each of AFB’s 26 locations across the country and in 80 branch locations of Academy Bank, AFB’s sister bank.
“Our partnership with A Million Thanks is a natural extension of our long-standing commitment to support the bravery and dedication of our military service members and their families,” said Don Giles, President of Armed Forces Bank. “We’re honored to join forces with the inspiring mission of A Million Thanks by offering our clients and the communities we serve a convenient way to send notes of gratitude directly to those who are protecting and defending our country.”
“Now with the Armed Forces Bank partnership, we have the opportunity to significantly expand our efforts with our ‘Send A Letter’ drop boxes in their branches across the country,” said Shauna Fleming, founder and CEO of A Million Thanks. “A handwritten letter is a simple, but powerful gesture that anyone can do to express his or her appreciation for our military’s courage, sacrifice and dedication. The response to the letters is often quite emotional. The letters provide a morale boost, not just to one service member, but often to the entire unit.”
Armed Forces Bank’s Long-Standing Military Commitment
With its headquarters in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, AFB has been dedicated to serving military service members and their families for more than 110 years. Approximately 35% of AFB Associates have some type of military affiliation either by spouse, retired themselves or their children. AFB’s dedication to the military has included many leadership initiatives and awards.
AFB was named “Distinguished Bank of the Year” by the Department of the Army and Navy in 2019 and has recently received nine nominations from the Army, Navy and Air Force for the 2020 award. Nominated by the Command Leadership at military installation around the country, the award recognizes AFB’s leadership in serving military service members and their families with a vast array of banking services, installation support and financial education.
For the past eight consecutive years, AFB also has earned the “Military Saves Designation of Savings Excellence” by the Association of Military Banks. The program helps service members and their families save money, reduce debt and build wealth.
AFB is a founding partner of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. MSEP connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses for long-term, portable careers with advancement opportunities.
“At Armed Forces Bank, we celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses. They are the backbone of military families. As a spouse of a 20-year Army retiree, that hits home,” said Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending. “Our partnership with A Million Thanks gives us another important way to actively express our gratitude for the many sacrifices military men and women endure.”
In support of Military Appreciation Month in May, AFB associates around the country are embarking on Random Acts of Kindness to show appreciation to servicemembers, such as spontaneous help to pay for a fill-up at the gas pump or handing out gift cards to make groceries a little less expensive for service members and their families.
“Every day, it is an honor to serve our active and retired military service members and their families in every way we can,” Giles added. “No matter where they are stationed or deployed around the world, AFB is dedicated to expressing our appreciation by making everything from banking solutions to financial advice valuable, convenient and personal.”
About Armed Forces Bank
Armed Forces Bank (AFB), founded and headquartered in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907. As part of a family of banks with over $1.2 billion in assets, AFB provides affordable, personal and convenient banking and financial services to both active and retired military and civilian clients in all 50 states and around the world. Armed Forces Bank has more on-base locations than any military bank in the country with 26 locations. Armed Forces Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dickinson Financial Corporation, a $3.5 billion bank holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. AFB’s sister bank, Academy Bank, is a full-service community bank with over 80 branch locations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. For more, visit www.afbank.com.
About A Million Thanks
Founded in 2004, A Million Thanks is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the U.S. Military. A Million Thanks provides support and appreciation to our active and veteran military men and women through sending letters and granting betterment of life wishes, as well as providing higher education scholarships to their children. For more, visit www.amillionthanks.org.
He may perhaps be best known as Miguel on NBC’s Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award-winning family drama, This Is Us.
Yet actor and Air Force veteran Jon Huertas is no stranger to bringing his real-life military experience to other roles as well. For eight seasons, Huertas starred as detective and Army veteran Javier Esposito in the ABC series, Castle. He also appeared as Ramirez, a Marine Recon Sniper Spotter, in JAG, and retired Marine Sergeant Jack Kale, in NCIS.
A pivotal role for Huertas was in David Simon’s HBO miniseries, Generation Kill, as Sgt. Tony “Poke” Espera.
The series offered a unique perspective on the 2003 invasion of Iraq – an event that hit home for Huertas, who served an eight-year stint in the Air Force in both Operation Just Cause (Panama) and Desert Storm (the first war in Iraq) as an aircraft nuclear/conventional weapons specialist.
Bringing even more veteran diversity and inclusivity to the film and television industry is on the actor’s radar and also part of his latest venture.
Alongside fellow collaborator Kenny Stevenson, Huertas recently launched the production shingle, WestSide Stories. He says the new company has several projects in various stages of development – most of them featuring at least one military veteran or active-duty character.
“With our company, we have ‘diversity’ at the heart of every story we want to tell,” he said, “and for me personally, having an active-duty member of the uniformed services or a veteran with a positive portrayal of that type of character is paramount to each and every one of our stories.”
In addition to adding more military/veteran positive roles on the big screen, Huertas is also an advocate for giving Hollywood executives, directors, writers and producers more access to military bases – Air Force in particular – so those on-screen portrayals are more accurate as well.
“One reason I think it’s important to see what the Air Force does is that it’s a lot more than fighter planes and bombers,” he said. “There are so many things the Air Force does that gets overlooked because most stories about a military event or conflict involve the Army, the Marines or Navy, with the Air Force in just an air support role.
“Which is so important…. it’s how you win wars,” Huertas explained, “But it’s also important to shine a light on the other people who volunteer their lives in service of this country. The more we can show people, the more they’ll want to tell stories about it.”
A Born Actor
Born in New York City to a Puerto Rican father and a Caucasian mother, Huertas was raised primarily by his grandparents. He began acting when he was just 10 years old, taking part in school plays. Reportedly, Huertas once had to sing a solo at his strict Catholic school and his performance so moved a nun – who had instructed him to do so as a punishment – that the experience helped him make up his mind to pursue acting.
“The Air Force was an important stepping stone leading into my entertainment career,” Huertas said. “It allowed me to take advantage of getting a higher education, and I found it and the men and women I served with were very supportive and that’s what you need to succeed in this business, and any really, the support of your people.”
Huertas finished his college degree in theater while in the Air Force. He landed his first uncredited role in 1993 in The Webbers, but in 1998, portrayed Joe Negroni in the romantic drama, Why Do Fools Fall in Love? alongside Halle Berry, Paul Mazursky and Ben Vereen. That same year, he landed the role of Antonio in the television series, Moesha, and later played Brad, a witch hunter, in the popular ABC television hit, Sabrina the Teenage Witch – a role for which he was nominated for a 2000 ALMA Award.
But it was Huertas’ role of Detective Esposito in ABC’s police drama, Castle, that earned him and his co-star, Stana Katic, an award for Best Performance in a Drama Episode at the 16th Annual PRISM Awards.
Huertas’ latest projects include a new horror film he both appears in and produced called, Initiation, in May. He also directed a short film that will be debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival in June called, Two Jacked, about what happens when the world’s worst carjacker meets the world’s most notorious armed robber.
Apart from his Hollywood roles, Huertas regularly attends charity events benefiting veterans, including Wounded Warriors and Puppies Behind Bars. The Wildlands Network and the Aware Foundation are other organizations close to his heart. Married in Tulum in 2014, Huertas also enjoys spending time with his wife of seven years, Nicole Bordges.
Huertas believes both his military and LatinX roots have definitely influenced how he approaches his roles on screen.
“The Air Force shaped me and I think that we as creatives can show that there are different ways to be influenced in our lives,” Huertas said. “And serving your country can be a very profound way to achieve that.”
He says his background helps him navigate how he protects his characters by knowing when, who, and how to talk to the right person when it comes to any changes that would help round out or authenticate that character’s objective or backstory.
Huertas says this specifically comes from learning and respecting the military’s ‘chain of command.’
“That chain has always served well,” Huertas says. “I think following a good chain of command helps someone identify a great leader, and you want that person to be supporting you in the success of your character or the story you are trying to tell.”
And while there is improvement in incorporating more LatinX characters in entertainment, Huertas feels much more can be done.
“What we see in the media inspires us both positively and negatively,” he said. “So, for me, I feel it’s our responsibility – and more specifically, my responsibility since I’ve been able to create a small platform – to step up and try to project real LatinX heroes onto audiences in hopes of inspiring more people to strive for what they are capable of.”
As part of Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day, several businesses and organizations across the country are offering free and discounted services to current and veteran military personnel this month.
Check out our list below to see the ways in which others are supporting and appreciating our troops. Unless otherwise specified, these deals apply to all branches of the military for active-duty, retired, and veteran members.
Katy Perry, Ne-Yo, And Gavin Degraw To Perform At Livestream Benefit Concert With Alfonso Ribeiro As Host
As part of the kick off to National Nurses Week, which brought together health care workers at Lenox Health Greenwich Village to thank the NYC community for their continued support over the past year, Northwell Health announced the return of Side By Side: A Celebration of Service™ in honor of military and health care heroes.
Northwell Health has announced that the celebratory event taking place over Memorial Day weekend will feature a television special, produced in partnership with Al Roker Entertainment, airing Thursday, May 27 at 7:00pm ET on NBC4 New York.
This event is prior to a livestream benefit concert with superstars Katy Perry, Ne-Yo, Gavin DeGraw and a special performance by Northwell’s Nurse Choir, with Alfonso Ribeiro as host, on Monday, May 31 at 7:00pm ET via Northwell Health’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/NorthwellHealth1)
“We were honored to produce last year’s Side By Side television special during the onset of the coronavirus,” said Executive Producer and NBC personality Al Roker. “I am thrilled to continue the celebration, especially as America emerges from the global pandemic and notably during this 20th year anniversary of the September 11th anniversary. This year feels much different – more celebratory but no less important in realizing that true heroes don’t wear capes, but uniforms of service. We tip our hats to the first responders, healthcare workers, and veterans that put their lives on the line for all of us.”
“I am humbled to once again to be a part of Side By Side and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much,” said Alfonso Ribeiro, who hosted the inaugural Side By Side: A Celebration of Service™ in 2019. “This year we hope to raise funds in support of our military and all those who run towards danger with a night of unforgettable performances, and by sharing stories of perseverance and strength that really demonstrate the resiliency of the community in New York City.”
Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider and private employer, first launched Side By Side: A Celebration of Service™ over Memorial Day weekend 2019 in honor of those who have died serving our country, our veterans and active military.
The two-part celebration featured free daytime performances by Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, The U.S. Navy Band and more, along with extraordinary storytelling by veterans. Later that evening, Northwell provided free tickets to hundreds of service members and their families for a special performance by GRAMMY Award-winning, multi-platinum band Imagine Dragons. In 2020, Side By Side: A Celebration of Service™ recognized those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic with a Memorial Day television special and a #HealthcareHeroes Concert series that brought back Gavin DeGraw along with performances by Questlove and Meghan Trainor.
“We are forever in debt to our armed forces, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedoms,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “We must never forget their service. We will continue to celebrate their efforts, along with all of our first responders and health care workers, who risked everything to save lives after the September 11 attacks and again during this pandemic. We will keep their spirits alive as we prepare not just for a return to normal – but a brighter future for us all.”
Since 2006, Northwell has been serving and supporting active-duty personnel, veterans and their families as a proud, military-friendly employer and provider of both medical care and behavioral health treatment for those struggling with PTSD, while also recruiting and assisting newly returned veterans trying to find a job and acclimate back into civilian life. Northwell hires hundreds of veterans a year, and over the past decade has also awarded about $2 million to employees who were mobilized and deployed overseas – funds that represent the difference between their military pay and the regular salaries they would have earned at their Northwell jobs. In recognition of its efforts, Northwell is ranked as the nation’s seventh top nonprofit employer by the veterans advocacy group “Military Friendly.”
“Side by Side was created to show appreciation for our military, veterans and their families who have selflessly served our country,” said Juan Serrano, assistant vice president of Northwell’s Military Liaison Services. “Along with honoring our health care heroes, we are celebrating everyone who has stepped up to the challenges brought on by the pandemic over this past year, we will remember our 9/11 heroes as 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of those attacks.”
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 830 outpatient facilities and more than 16,600 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 76,000 employees – 18,900 nurses and 4,800 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We’re training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu and follow us @NorthwellHealth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
To make a donation to Northwell Health’s Military Liaison Services program:
Memorial Day began sometime after the Civil War with both formal and informal ceremonies at graves and ceremonies for the soldiers who had fallen in battle. Many places claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866, including Waterloo, New York and both Macon and Columbus, Georgia. On May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Union veterans organization, established Decoration Day, May 30, as a time for the nation to decorate the dead with flowers. Arlington National Cemetery held the first large observance later that year.
By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held throughout the country on May 30. Over time, the Army and Navy adopted policies for proper observances, and state legislatures passed proclamations designating the day. After World War I the day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars, and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
VLM is now permitting online visitors to leave a comment of tribute on a Veteran’s page, a new way to observe Memorial Day.
Create a Free Remembrance Plaque
Together We Served is inviting any Veteran or Family Member to create a Remembrance Military Service Plaque, at no charge, to remember an Active Serving or Veteran Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coastguardsman who is now Deceased.
National D-Day Memorial – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. est on Mon. May 31st
The Memorial will honor and remember those who gave their lives to the cause of freedom with a virtual online event. On-site visitors get free admission 10AM – Noon and can view the ceremony from a screen in the Bobbie G. Johnson pavilion.
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Remembrance Day Ceremony – Online at 11:00 a.m. EST on Monday, May 31st
Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Online at 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, May 31st
The 2021 Memorial Day Ceremony will be a live webcast. A small in-person ceremony will take place limited to 250 guests. Spots must be reserved in advance.
Virtual National Relay
Carry The Load’s Memorial May Campaign, in partnership with the VA, brings awareness to the service and sacrifice of our military, veterans, first responders and their families. Start or join a team or participate as an individual.
Wear Blue to Remember/Team Red White and Blue (RWB)
Check with your local veterans organizations, monuments, military bases and local governments for events. There are many virtual runs, ceremonies and observances being held locally throughout the U.S.
Memorial Day Events
Call ahead or check online for any in person events due to current circumstances.
VA National Cemeteries
Each VA national cemetery will conduct a brief wreath laying ceremony, accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps. Ceremonies will not be open to the public but will be Live Streamed and posted here as they appear on May 25.
Other public events typically associated with Memorial Day at national cemeteries, including group placement of flags at gravesites, will not take place. However, all VA national cemeteries will be open Memorial Day weekend from dawn to dusk for public visitation.
Visitors are also urged to consider visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday to avoid possible crowds on Memorial Day. Families may continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their Veteran’s gravesite.
While the department can’t hold large public ceremonies, VA will still honor Veterans and service members with the solemn dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie
Memorial Day Activities & Events to Honor Those Who Died
Visit cemeteries and memorials.
Attend Memorial Day ceremonies.
Volunteer to place an American Flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
Observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.
Attend a Memorial Day parade, festival, fair or concert such as the National Memorial Day Concert.
Run for charity on Memorial Day weekend.
Volunteer to support events such as the National Memorial Day Parade.
Donate to veterans and military support groups.
National Moment of Remembrance
The National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that asks Americans to pause for a moment of silence for a minute at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day. The 3 pm time was chosen, because it is the time when many Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. It is intended to be a unifying act of remembrance for Americans of all ages. The National Moment of Remembrance Act became law in the year 2000.
There are many ways to observe the National Moment of Remembrance, both formally and informally. The moment of silence can be observed more formally at places such as a veterans cemetery, park, picnic ground and can include playing ‘Taps’, the military bugle call that reflects on the glory of those who have shed blood for us. A bell can also be rung at the beginning and end of the one minute of remembrance. If you are driving and unable to stop you can turn on your headlights for a minute.