Getting new service members in has been deemed mission essential by the Pentagon, meaning many service members are graduating basic training amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As America continues to work to curb the spread of the coronavirus, basic training installations throughout the force have chosen to forgo traditional graduation ceremonies in favor of streamed events or no ceremonies as all. Of course, we all understand the need to keep our troops safe, but for those looking forward to seeing their loved ones cross the parade deck in uniform, closing graduations has been yet another bummer in a sea of bad news lately.
But just because you can’t be with your loved one when they graduate doesn’t mean you can’t still show that you care. Here are a few ideas to help send love to your favorite new service member despite the coronavirus-forced changes to basic training.
You can find more info about graduating basic training amid the coronavirus here.
Send them a gift card to use at the exchange
I’ll never forget my first trip to the PX on family day aboard Parris Island. It was the first time in months that I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to eat and, of course, like so many other Marines before me, I took that opportunity to buy some candy.
Of course, there were lots of other expenses that popped up on my way to combat training and then my MOS school, many of which I hadn’t really anticipated–from replacing lost uniform items to wanting to have a radio for my wall locker, the exchange was where we all went to purchase a tiny bit of independence. Getting to listen to your own music, pick up a few of your own snacks, or grab some new civilian attire all felt like Christmas after recruit training. Sending your loved one a gift card really can make a huge difference, just by allowing them to pick up a bit of that independence without worrying about breaking the bank.
You can even send gift cards through Sandboxx Letters — it’s probably the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to get a gift card into your loved one’s hands.
Send them some pictures to ease their homesickness
Being away from loved ones can be tough, but it’s that much harder throughout basic training, where time seems to stop while the world outside the fence line keeps on spinning. For most service members, finishing boot camp feels like a big accomplishment, but it’s being reunited with loved ones that they really look forward to. Now, however, many service members graduating basic training amid the coronavirus likely won’t be reunited with their families for months to come.
In these difficult circumstances, being away from family may be for the best, it still hurts morale. Cheer your loved one up with a picture of yourself, a beloved pet, or a fun family photo. Let them know that the world may still be turning, but you’ve got a spot saved just for them. It will really mean the world.
You can include pictures in your Sandboxx Letters that will arrive next-day!
Help them remember why they signed up (and why they should be proud)
Chances are good that not getting to see you at graduation will really bum your loved ones out, and it can be harder to keep your head in the game when your morale is low. That’s where getting support from your loved ones counts the most.
Everyone’s motivation falters from time to time, but a good support structure can help new service members keep their heads on straight as the move through training and toward their first duty station. Send them a letter to remind them of the reasons they signed up in the first place. Remind them that you’re not just proud of what they’re doing, you’re proud of who they are. Little words of encouragement like that can go a long way when you’re deep inside the training pipeline.
Remember, service is a noble endeavor, but it’s not always easy. Our loved ones may have agreed to shoulder the weight of defending our nation, but we can help ease that burden by letting them know we care, we’re grateful, and we’re waiting patiently for our chance to be reunited.