by Michael Schindler, President of Operation Military Family
“Push the petal” in your community! My friend Bruce McNichol, a nationally renowned author, came up with that clever saying as we approach May 7th, the official Military Spouse Appreciation Day when schools, businesses, churches and neighbors are encouraged to honor and appreciate military spouses across their communities – and perhaps the world.
Operation Military Family, headquartered in the Seattle area, teamed up with the USO, headquartered in Arlington, VA to bring “Operation Petal Power” to life. So, what exactly is “OPP?”
Simply put, it is a very simple and effective way for friends, families, neighbors, associates to say “thank you” to our military spouses on May 7th, by dropping a virtual flower on the door step of a military spouse – all in the tradition of May Day.
A little back story on May Day: May Day dates WAY back, even before the time of Christ; it really is a centuries old tradition that was embraced by the Romans. See, the beginning of May was a very popular feast time for the Romans. As one website shared, “It was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers.” (In Seattle, we embrace the month of May just because we see the sun!) It was in her honor a five day celebration, called the Floralia, was held. The five day festival would start from April 28 and end on May 2. The Romans brought in the rituals of the Floralia festival in the British Isles.
Throughout Europe children would celebrate the days by moving back and forth around the “May Pole” with colorful streamers, choosing a May queen, and hanging May baskets on the doorknobs of folks.
Here in the states, though this celebration wasn’t widely embraced, when I was a little trouble maker, I remember dropping flowers on the neighbor’s door step, banging on their door and running like mad – it made for good, clean fun. And so the USO and OMF are encouraging children and adults alike to embrace an old tradition in honor of our military spouses.
So help us honor and salute military spouses on May 7th by leaving a flower on a military spouse’s doorstep, mailing them a paper flower made by your children or school, or emailing them a virtual flower – you can download all the information and the “flowers” from both www.USO.org or www.OperationMilitaryFamily.org.
All of us who have served our country know that often it is the spouse at home that deserves just as much, if not more, recognition for their service and sacrifice – so, “Push the Petal” and bring a smile to a deserving military spouse on May 7th.
Michael is the president of Operation Military Family, a defense contractor that provides military relationship strengthening workshops, seminars and curricula, a Navy veteran, contributing writer to several national publications, and the author of the book “Operation Military Family” which is endorsed by Gen (ret) Tommy Franks, former C-I-C U.S. Central Command. He also serves as the Director for Military Marriages and Healthy Relationships under the Foundation for Healthy Relationships, a non-profit started by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, nationally recognized relationship experts. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Michael Schindler and do not necessarily reflect those of the USO.