Sunday, March 08, 2009

Beyond Tribute

This morning I heard about an organization called Beyond Tribute, They explain their organization this way:

Memorial Day is the solemn time when we honor those who gave their lives for our freedom, the families they left behind, and those who still serve.

And, over the years, it has also become an American business tradition to pay tribute on Memorial Day with holiday sales; "Memorial Day Sale - Save 25%!"

But today, hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans and military families suffer from a lack of essential support. So now we must go Beyond Tribute and actually help our wounded veterans.

The Beyond Tribute campaign is changing how we celebrate Memorial Day by making it possible for businesses to donate a portion of their holiday period sales to actually help our heroes in need. It is that simple

Most people who have stopped by this blog know that my son, 1Lt Ken Ballard was killed in Iraq on 5.30.2004. We got the knock on the door on Memorial Day. While most people were on a shopping spree, Ken's friends and family were struggling to figure out what life without Ken would mean to us. As a 4th generation Army officer, Ken and we knew the importance of Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, but Ken's death made it personal. I have frequently bemoaned the fact that people and businesses look to those days as a day for sales with no regard to the sacrifices our military and their families are making every single day.

Most Americans have not been affected by these wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. After 7 years in Afghanistan and 6 in Iraq, it always surprises me when I am the first Gold Star Mom that people have met. I know that most people do not know the struggles of military families and veterans as they attempt to get their old lives back when they return from the battlefront. I also know that most people would support the troops and veterans if they knew how. It's time for businesses to step up and show their support for our wounded veterans and their families. This is one way they can do that.

The mission statement from Beyond Tribute seems well thought out:

Our mission is to redefine our Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays by engaging the American business community and its customers in a national campaign that will raise charitable dollars to benefit those who are struggling with the wounds of war, including the invisible wounds: PTSD, traumatic brain injury and combat-induced anxiety and depression. Funds raised go directly to top rated charities that help veterans in need throughout the USA.

I really like the part about funds raised go directly to "top rated charities". I'm not sure which charities are on their radar, but please check Charity Navigator before you make any donations. While there are many good charities that support veterans, there are also many more whose funding is deplorable. Charity Navigator does a good job of breaking down the information.

The Beyond Tribute website has been recently updated but it still has a long way to go to get businesses signed up and to get the word out. I'm doing what I can do, I hope you'll do the same.

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