When to Give Thanks to Military Members

Hey, Danie here! Jumping on the blog to talk about a controversial topic that most people probably do not realize is controversial. In today’s blogpost, we will discuss when is the right time to say thanks to a military member.

Most civilians take the time to thank a military member every chance they get. They understand that everyone cannot do this job, and military members understand that. What seems to be an ever growing problem is civilians thanking veterans on Memorial Day. I do not know if there is confusion on the definition of Memorial Day or if since September 11, 2001, it just became the standard to thank military members for their service.  Before we move forward, let us define Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day in which those who have died during active military service are remembered.

As you can see the definition is clear and precise. Unfortunately, every year I or my husband receive spam emails or Facebook shoutouts stating “thank you for your service!” I totally get the meaning behind what they are saying, but at the end of the day, am I dead? (Hint: the answer is no)

When to Say”Thanks”

ANY DAY OTHER THAN MEMORIAL DAY (haha). Yes, you can say “thank you for your service” 364. However, there are two days out of the year that the nation observes for national praise: Armed Forces Day and Veterans Day.

Armed Forces Day

A national holiday observed the third Saturday in May. It is a day to pay tribute to the men and women currently serving. Mainly observed for active duty, it is not uncommon to acknowledge those active Guard and Reserve members. Peculiarly, this holiday is observed around the world. Countries like Canada, China, New Zealand, and Australia celebrate the holiday as well.

Veterans Day

A federal holiday observed annually on November 11. Widely celebrated, this holiday honors those who have served in the Armed Forces. These are individuals who served their term and left active duty. It is common to see Guard and Reserve member celebrate this day due to the fact most of the members who make up the force were on active duty at some point, but “is no longer serving active duty.”

Now that we have clearly defined all the nationally observed days, I hope this clarifies why some military members get offended when friends and family thank them for their services on Memorial Day. My advice to anyone that wants to show appreciation for military members on Memorial Day is to state the following:

“Thank you. We remember you. We are grateful to you.”

In conclusion, serving military members often here civilians confuse Memorial Day with Armed Forces Day or Veterans Day. Most members do not make a stink about it, but if you do say it to a member, be prepared for backlash. To avoid this, please leave giving thanks to service members to any other day of the year except Memorial Day.

For more military insight, check out the following articles:

6 Ways to Celebrate Military Child Appreciation Month

7 MUST KNOW Deployment Tips Every Spouse Should Know

5 MUST KNOW Deployment Tips for First-Time Mothers

For more detailed thoughts on military life, check out our YouTube channel, LOC’D 2GETHER.


  1. I come from a family with many members in different branches of the military, and I appreciate this post! A lot of people need clarification haha!


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