Serving in the military is an often lauded career choice in the U.S. If you have been wondering how best to honor a veteran close to you, May is the perfect month to do so, as it is National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM), a time for veneration and celebration. Life after service presents interesting new opportunities for veterans – but it never hurts to have a special month dedicated to solidarity and support of the military community in the U.S. 

Origins of National Military Appreciation Month
NMAM gained traction in 1999, when it was first championed as a serious cause. According to NMAM's official website, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Duncan Hunter of Arizona helped foster legislation that eventuated in May being reserved for showing honor to veterans. The source noted that this cause has gained bi-partisan support – both houses of congress passed a measure officially making May National Military Appreciation Month.

"There is no inopportune time to thank a military member or veteran for their service and sacrifice," said Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, according to Army Times. 

Many facets of NMAM
The month in no way seeks to detract from habitual warm treatment of veterans – which helps to assist in the transition from life after military. Instead, the holiday designated for May seeks to deliver a firm reminder of the sacrifice of men and women overseas. noted that this also helps to serve as an educational reminder of the role of the military in the U.S. throughout the years.

The source suggested that learning about the role of the Continental Army in the American Revolution and other military events can help catalyze interest and respect for the military – a respect that the source believes has diminished over the years. In this vein, the source noted that encouraging educators to teach more military-related history is one of the goals of the appreciation month.

The site also noted more recent military references – such as the 38th Parallel and Normandy. Perhaps accounts of Allied troops storming Nazi-occupied France and General Douglas MacArthur's savvy military maneuver at the Inchon landing in the Korean War will whet the appetite of a generation of students who are unaware of these events. 

Various ways to show support to veterans during celebration
The Huffington Post noted that there are numerous ways to show a veteran support – excellent news for individuals eager to participate in National Military Appreciation Month. The source suggested that an arduous aspect of soldiers lives is their spouses' experience in encountering the job market, which has not been the greatest since the 2008 recession.This is further exacerbated due to the fear among employers that military families may move swiftly, making a hire look unfeasible to employers.

"It's the inevitable question from potential employers: 'How did you end up in Hawaii?' I'm never quite comfortable answering this question, for one I feel it's a screening question to find out if I am a military spouse," said Melissa, a military spouse, according to The Huffington Post, "While my instinct is to be direct with a potential employer, there's a fear that being found out as a military spouse could hurt my chances of getting a job."

Therefore, a way to help soldiers and veterans during the May celebration may be to ensure that wives and husbands are able to obtain gainful employment. This, of course, will be hard to deliver, but the month will bring many opportunities. NMAM. org followed this sentiment, exhibiting the onus put on employees and employers when troops head to overseas locations. Regardless, consider doing something special for a veteran during NMAM.