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Sept. 11, 2001. In an instant, our sense of invulnerability was gone. An enemy attack here at home, only rivaled by Pearl Harbor 60 years before. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost, each one linked to a family, a home, a good life.

Americans have an uncanny ability to turn grief into motivation. We took a heavy blow on that day, but it was nowhere near a knockout. Why? Because of our American spirit. It is impossible to quantify or calculate or defeat.

Our ancestors had it when they came here seeking a new land of opportunity. Our forefathers fought for it and scribed it between the lines of the Declaration of Independence. The early pioneers carried it with them across wild plains and jagged mountains. The Civil War forced us to look ourselves in the eye and give everyone the right to claim it. The best and brightest forged a future of creativity and industry, inspired by it. The greatest generation had it in spades through the wars of the early 20th century. And we could go on and on.

Only 14 years separate us from that fateful day. 5,113 days. And every day, we’ve relied on our American spirit in one form or another.

For our military community, the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks meant 13 years of war. More than 6,000 brave Americans lost their lives in a combat zone while more than 52,000 have been wounded in action. Yet the American spirit persists. It’s with the soldier halfway across the world as he focuses on his mission. It’s with the family waiting for mom to come home safely from deployment. It keeps a wounded hero company in his most difficult hours. It spurs an entire nation to patriotism and pride in those who sacrifice so much for our freedom. It is the backbone of who we are.

Whether it’s defined as tenacity, gumption, chutzpah, initiative or plain old orneriness, our American spirit leads us forward. Deep within us is the desire to rise up and reject an act of hatred meant to crush us.

It is this passion that is the force behind movements like the 9/11 Day, the largest annual day of charitable engagement in the United States. Each year more than 40 million Americans observe September 11 by performing good deeds that help others.

How will you observe Sept. 11? Pause for a moment to reflect on that day, not so long ago. And never forget those fellow Americans and their families who paid a terrible price. Then, make a difference. Volunteer. Give back. There is no better way to honor those whose memory will stay with us forever.

At Operation Homefront, thousands of military families come to us to help them get through tough times so they can move forward to a stable and more secure future. We couldn’t do it without help from our generous donors. You can give too, and join the national effort to turn tragedy into an opportunity to shine.

 

 

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Memorial-Day-2015-pause-remember-operation-homefrontAll of us hold dear the memory of loved ones who have passed on. We likely take time, each year, to remember the loss, and do so with a mingled sense of both fondness and sadness. We do so to keep them with us in spirit.

Memorial Day is special as we, as a nation, have the opportunity to take a moment to remember and reflect upon the loss of those who have had a profound impact on preserving the freedoms we enjoy daily. By honoring their memories, we sustain the spirit these fallen heroes shared with us.

My father served in World War II, and was one of the thousands of American and Filipino troops captured when the U.S. surrendered the Bataan Peninsula. He survived the death march, and was a prisoner of war for three and a half years. He never spoke much of his time in captivity, but it was clear that those who were lost during this difficult period came home with him in spirit. Years later, during my own service, I stood on the tarmac at Dover AFB to honor those who were making the final journey home and knew I was also bringing home loved ones in spirit.

As we get ready to enjoy an extended holiday weekend, all Americans can take part in bringing those we have lost in our nation’s service home in spirit by joining in the national moment of remembrance that takes place at 3 p.m. local time on Monday afternoon. Let us keep them with us in spirit.

With honor and in service to all,

John I Pray, Jr.

President and CEO, Operation Homefront

 

 

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Official Sponsor of Holiday Hugs!

Official Sponsor of Holiday Hugs!

“IM COMING HOME!!!!”

“Going to NY & surprising my parents!”

Are you an active duty service member trying to figure out how to get home for the holidays?  Then you will DEFINITELY want to read on…

Operation Homefront through support from Walmart is pleased to bring active duty Service Members Home for the Holidays!  Active duty Service Members are invited to apply for travel dates between December 1, 2013-January 5, 2014.

Applications for Home for the Holidays will be accepted through November 1.  OH reserves the right to close the application site earlier if all tickets are distributed.

  • CONTINENTAL 48    OH will fly 450 Service Members Home for the Holidays.  Service Members may apply to fly home to visit immediate family and/or legal military dependents.
  • HAWAII, ALASKA & OVERSEAS    OH will fly 50 Service Members from Hawaii, Alaska or overseas locations to the continental 48 states to be Home for the Holidays.

Click here for Requirements, Rules and Restrictions and to apply.

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Capt. Robert Phillips of Langley, Va., is the first “A Few Goode Heroes” contest winner! As Hero of the Month, Phillips will receive a $1,000 donation in his name to the Fisher House Foundation, the charity of his choice, with a $1000.00 match to Operation Homefront.

Nominated by his wife, Trina, who described him as “someone who always puts others first,” Phillips is a father of eight children. He returned from deployment in Afghanistan last September, and recently transferred to Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia from the 49th Operations Support Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Congratulations, Capt. Phillips!

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In case you haven’t heard, Murphy Goode is looking for a Few Goode Heroes. They want to hear about the people who are making a difference in your community. Nominate your hero by submitting a photo and a 250 word essay. One monthly Hero will be selected through fan votes and a team of judges to receive a donation to the charity of their choice*, and Murphy-Goode will make a matching donation to one of our heroes, Operation Homefront.

One grand prize hero will win a 4th of July BBQ in their hometown, sponsored by Murphy-Goode and catered by their Grill Sergeant!

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This is a memorable day for all of us. Even if we didn’t know a single soul lost in the terrorist attacks, the catastrophe touched us all.

Operation Homefront was founded in the wake of those attacks. Once service members started deploying, concerned patriots saw the struggle families faced. They banded together to find ways to help, and their movement quickly grew.

Today we have chapters across the country made up mostly of volunteers. Nothing can make up for the lives lost and the families torn apart on this day nine years ago, but the people who’ve stepped up to serve in the military and in nonprofit organizations are helping our nation heal.

So thank you — to our military members, to our volunteers, our supporters and fellow nonprofit agencies. Today we remember not just the tragedy of the attacks, but the heroism, generosity and compassion that followed the devastation.

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