Month: May 2020

A Brief History of Memorial Day

Thank Our Military for Your Continuing Freedom

 

In 2020, Memorial Day is Monday, May 25. Although the national holiday may be a little different this year because of social distancing practices, the day will still carry the same heavy meaning as it has every year since it was established. 

At My Hero Crate, we celebrate the soldiers deployed, living on military bases, and everywhere else, working diligently to protect our country. But we would be mistaken to not acknowledge those who gave their lives for us. Memorial Day is the one day set aside every year to do that — but we’re truly thankful every day.

 

 

The Meaning of Memorial Day


Memorial Day, sometimes called Decoration Day, is observed in honor of the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. We are literally memorializing the military members who made the ultimate sacrifice, no matter what branch they were in: Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, or National Guard. It’s a day to reflect on and remember why we are free to live as we do in this country.

Memorial Day is different from Veterans Day, celebrated on November 11 every year. Veterans Day is a time to thank and honor all military members who served, including those who came home alive. Veterans Day also acknowledges those soldiers who served during peacetime and did not see combat during their tenure. 

 

 

The First Memorial Day


It seems there is no official documentation of the first Memorial Day, but the custom of honoring fallen heroes is a worldwide tradition extending through history. Some say the day was first officially acknowledged in America after the Civil War, but there are records that show regions and countries honoring their service members prior to that. 

 

Regardless, Memorial Day became a national holiday in the United States in 1971, by an act of Congress. Americans celebrate it every year on the final Monday of May.

 

 

Memorial Day Activities

 

Traditionally, on Memorial Day in the United States, people visit cemeteries and memorials to place flowers and other mementos on the graves of their ancestors, particularly those who served in the military. At national cemeteries, like Arlington, volunteers place American flags on each grave.

Some families use Memorial Day as a time to get together with their loved ones, to barbecue, and relax. The day is often thought of as the unofficial start to the summer season, although the first day of summer isn’t until June.

 

 

Memorial Day Symbolism


You might remember seeing poppy flowers worn on lapels on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day. There are historical and literary reasons for this. 

 

When the European ground was disturbed on the battlefields during World War I, poppy flowers began growing and blooming. The iconic red poppy was described in the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written by a Canadian soldier, John McCrae, in 1915. 

 

The flower came up in another poem, this one written by Moina Michael in 1918, called “We Shall Keep the Faith.” Americans drew inspiration from these references and began to wear a red poppy in remembrance of those killed in World War I. 

 

Since then, the poppy has become a symbol to memorialize all veterans of any war, and quickly spread to Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, among other allies.

 


What You Can Do on Memorial Day


If you want to properly thank America’s fallen soldiers for their service, you can:

 

  • Participate in the national moment of silence at 3 p.m., whatever your time zone may be.

  • Volunteer to decorate the graves of soldiers at your local military cemetery or a national cemetery, if you live close-by.

  • Lay flowers on the graves of your veteran family members.

  • Donate to organizations that help injured service members or families of soldiers who lost their lives in battle.

 

 

How My Hero Crate Honors Veterans


My Hero Crate curates snack gift baskets designed for families to send to their loved ones in the military. Each care package is full of treats both made in America and distributed by American companies. For every purchase made, we donated to a non-profit veteran-backed organization. Visit our website to see the organization we’ve selected this month, and to shop our care packages.

 

Enter To Win 1 of 5 Military Snack Care Packages!

Enter to Win a Military Snack Care Package!

 
This contest is over. We gave away five Military Snack Care Packages to wonderful winners on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you so much to everyone who entered!
 
 
Contest details:

To celebrate our website launch we are GIVING AWAY FIVE Military Snack Care Packages! Share it with someone you care about! We will announce the winners on Memorial Day.

 

HOW TO ENTER:

•Follow @myhercrate on Instagram or Facebook

•Tag three friends on a contest post

•Like our page

•Sign Up For our newsletter below

No Purchase Necessary. Must be 18 Years or Older to Enter. Must Live in the United States. Shipping address must be in the United States, US military bases only (dpo/fpo/apo). This contest is not affiliated in any way by Instagram or Facebook. Contest begins 5/18/2020 12A EST and Ends 5/25/2020 12P EST. Winners will be drawn Monday, 5/25/2020 12P EST and announced on both Instagram and Facebook.

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Three Ways to Jazz Up Your Snail Mail

Loved Ones in the Armed Forces Treasure Your Letters


When your soldier is deployed, or your recruit is away at basic combat training, all the branches of the military recommend sending letters to your loved one the old-fashioned way. These motivating letters help your favorite military member get through each day. Training and deployment aren’t easy times.

Depending on your soldier’s or recruit’s location and training status, you will want to take great care with what you send in the mail and how you send it. Here are three ways you can make your mail extra special without attracting attention from the drill sergeant or breaking any rules.

 

The Boot Camp Exception: Keep Basic Training Mail Simple

The least conspicuous mail to your recruit at boot camp can be, the better. Use plain white envelopes, and write only their address and your return address on the outside. Avoid adding stickers, doodles, or other messages to the outside of the envelope. It can be tempting to make the letter look fun and exciting, but it’s sure to catch the attention of the drill sergeant during mail call.

The best way to jazz up mail at boot camp is to include one or two small photos, or reserve drawings or motivating messages for inside the letter itself. Your recruit can open their mail away from prying eyes and be able to privately enjoy the character you’ve added to their mail.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having photos printed, then picking them up, and hoping they fit inside the envelope, you can use your home printer to add images directly to the paper you write your letter on. This also simplifies the number of items your recruit will need to keep organized in their limited storage space.

Most military bases will recommend that you not send armed forces care packages to your recruit during boot camp, unless they specifically ask for an item. 


Talk About What’s Important

Instead of rambling on about all the things your military member is missing back home, especially if you have a recruit in boot camp, focus your letters on their training, their goals, and the relationships they’re building. This is much more motivating and less likely to make them feel homesick.

Similarly, deployed troops love receiving motivating letters, too. It helps them focus on the task they’ve been sent to do. It’s also only natural to want to keep your soldier updated on everything that’s happening back home. Use your best judgement on how to share those details. Remember that letters from home always stir up emotions.


Add Something Unexpected

Outside of boot camp, you can dress up letters to your soldier with less risk of attracting attention. While you might consider tossing in a small amount of confetti for flair, especially on a birthday, your soldier will be expected to clean up every piece! 

Instead, you might change up the way you’re writing your letters. For example:

  • Write a letter, journal-style. Work on the letter over a period of a week, dating each new section. This will provide you with chances to write a little bit or a lot each day. Hearing about your days in snippets can be comforting and show your soldier just how quickly the time is passing.

  • Include newspaper clippings, magazine cut-outs, or other tidbits from your soldier’s favorite news source, or about their favorite topic. It’s especially poignant if it’s related to their hometown or somewhere special to them.

  • Make your own greeting card, with your own art, out of plain cardstock. Paint, draw, color, or collage the front of it to customize it.

  • Send a military-themed care package. Soldiers love receiving snacks and other items from their loved ones. If they’re deployed overseas, you can even take advantage of domestic shipping rates for base addresses. My Hero Crate is pleased to offer military care packages for all branches. Each of our carefully curated gift boxes includes American products from American distributors and comes with free shipping, making sending a special package even easier. But remember: don’t send a care package to a recruit at basic training!

 

Learn more about My Hero Crate and our new snack box subscriptions. You can shop our full selection online, including our gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.

Celebrating a Deployed Soldier’s Birthday

Be Discreet, or Go All Out!

At any stage in a military member’s career, hearing from loved ones at home is comforting and motivating. But when it comes to their birthday, things can get a little more complicated depending on where they are and what they’re doing.

To simplify your decision-making about what to do for your soldier’s or recruit’s birthday, My Hero Crate is here to give you some great ideas.



Birthdays at Boot Camp

Most recruits are pretty young — fresh out of high school, or even college-age — although, of course, there are plenty that are a little older, too. Birthdays are still pretty special to them, especially as they reach landmark years: leaving their teens, or turning 21.

If your recruit’s birthday falls during their time away at boot camp, we have some bad news. Boot camp is actually not the best time to send your recruit a military care package, let alone a birthday gift. There’s a reason recruits are instructed to not bring much with them to basic combat training, and that’s because whichever branch they’ve enlisted in, be it Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard, they provide what they need to get through.

However, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t acknowledge your recruit’s birthday. Instead of a soldier care package, consider sending a heartfelt letter through the mail. Reflect on previous celebrations, talk about how proud you are of them for joining the military, and wish them happy birthday in a way that won’t bring the ire of their drill sergeant down upon them. The one thing you definitely don’t want during boot camp is special attention!

 

Birthdays After Basic Training

When your recruit graduates to soldier and their birthday comes around, finding creative ways to celebrate or send a gift to a military base is totally OK!

Some people prefer to keep it simple and follow the boot camp rules for celebrating birthdays. But if your soldier really loves their birthday, you might want to send a special Army care package, or build your own Navy gift box — or whatever branch they’re in — to send to your soldier.

If you want to keep it simple, My Hero Crate can take care of the packaging and shipping for you. Just select what type of care package you’d like to send, and your hero will receive their military care package directly from us.

If you prefer to create your own, know you will need to carefully package the contents to prevent them from being crushed, especially if you’re including anything fragile (like certain snacks). A popular item to receive is the famous cake-in-a-jar, which is a personal-sized cake baked directly inside a canning jar. Other ideas include necessities like underwear or sunblock; snacks, like chips, nuts, jerky, trail mix, or drink mixes in single-serving packages; simple games like cards or puzzle books (but not jigsaw puzzles); stationery supplies without stamps; and photos and special notes.

 

Birthdays During Deployment

It’s hard enough to be deployed to another part of the world, let alone when you’re deployed on your birthday. Just as you might send your soldier a birthday gift when they’re stateside, you also can send them a gift while they’re deployed for the domestic cost of shipping.

The United States Postal Service offers a reduced rate for military mail. You need only pay domestic postage on anything going to an APO or FPO address, as long as you have the APO/FPO/DPO and the zip code. Double-check with your soldier that you’ve written their mailing address down correctly before shipping a gift to them.

If assembling overseas-quality sturdy packaging and securing shipping just isn’t your forte, but you still want to send something special, My Hero Crate can take care of you in this situation, too! Our soldier care packages ship free 100% of the time. You’re already paying the emotional toll of having a loved one in the military; you don’t need to be nickel-and-dimed for postage, too.

 

Shop Now at My Hero Crate

Ready to send a care package and let us handle everything for you? Perfect! We’re ready to do it! Start by browsing our selection of care packages. You can even choose to sign your soldier up for a care package subscription service, and we’ll send a gift box every month!

When you place the gift box order with us, you’ll include your billing address, and your soldier’s shipping address. Then, we’ll take care of the rest. The next thing you know, you’ll get a phone call or letter thanking you for the care package full of snacks and sweet treats.

© 2020 MY HERO CRATE