5 Ways Small Businesses Can Honor the Military on Memorial Day

Memorial Day (May 30 this year) may be a traditional time for barbecues, family get-togethers, and, for most (though probably not you), a day off from work. But don’t forget the true meaning of the holiday: commemorating the lives of U.S. soldiers who have died in military service. If you run a small business, Memorial Day also offers a great opportunity to honor military members through a variety of methods. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Sponsor a float in your local Memorial Day parade. Many towns and cities host annual Memorial Day parades to honor service members, and they seek local businesses as sponsors for their floats to support the cost of the ceremony. Check in with your local chamber of commerce to find out what’s going on in your region, and how your business can get involved.
  2. Offer special discounts or free items to military members or veterans. Traditionally, Veteran’s Day is the time to honor war veterans, but Memorial Day offers another occasion to show respect for those involved in military service. Promote a special offer like a 20 percent discount on all purchases, or, if you run a restaurant, a free meal for everyone who shows their military service ID card.
  3. Host a special volunteer event to help a local military family. For instance, you could enlist your employees in an effort to complete a home renovation project for a soldier who has become disabled in battle. Think about what product donations could help as well: If you own a hardware shop, you can donate tools and building materials; if you run a garden center, you could donate plants, flowers, and assistance with landscaping. Be sure to take photos of your volunteer event, and add them to your website and newsletter with a description of the day.
  4. Send out a Memorial Day postcard with a special offer included. Create a custom postcard with a vintage image of soldiers on the front, and a short message about the importance of commemorating the lives of soldiers on the back. Customers can bring the postcard to your store to receive a special discount or a free promotional gift on or around Memorial Day.
  5. Use your company’s blog or email newsletter to honor the war dead from your own family. Most of us have a fighter pilot uncle who was shot down in WWII, or a cousin who died in Vietnam. Take the opportunity to pay respect to your own fallen family members through your online communications with customers, and ask customers to chime in with their own stories. It’s a great opportunity to develop a more personal touch in your customer relationships.

How does your business plan to honor military members this Memorial Day? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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3 comments
Steve Brown
Steve Brown

Hello fellow American my name is Steve Brown I am a Soldier Stationed probably in the most dangerous area in the world at the present moment. I'm not sure if I'm going about this request in the proper manner but I'm trying to see if your company would consider shipping tools to our location or donating some much needed tools to our Base here in Afghanistan. We have been deployed here for a little over three months now and are scrambling to make the quality of life and living condition a little better for our troops. Our supply system is really slow and the contracted civilians have a lot of red tape when it comes to building facilities or projects on our installation. We have quite a few Soldiers that have a great back ground in carpentry and other construction fields and are trying to do most of the work ourselves but the limited amount of tools and hardware is restricting our progress. If there is any way you can support this request it would be greatly appreciated in many ways. My email address is: SFCBrown235inf@yahoo.com . Thank you for your time.Address: SFC Brown, Steve J. TF CACTI/ FOB JOYCE BDOC NCOIC APO AE 09310

Carole
Carole

I am an Army Veteran (Gulf War Era), thanks for what you guys do as many of our fallen soldiers have no one to visit their grave sites and place flowers. Thanks for your contribution. I will be doing the same today around the Central FL are.Please consider opening a chapter of Military Moms or Military families, they are great organizations that need Veterans at the helm!Have a great day!

Rosie
Rosie

I am a Veteran. I will be out at our local Veteran's Cemetery to help place flags on the graves of my fallen brothers and sisters. This is a day that means a lot to me. It is a time to honor and reflect on my fellow Veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Country. Each of them have paved the way for me and every citizen of this country to live free and proud. God Bless our Veterans and God Bless America.