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Memorial Day 2012: 7 Ways To Honor Military Members

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While Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, it also marks something else: The opportunity to thank and our soldiers and honor those who we've lost.

So this year, in addition to firing up the grill and relaxing with family, consider volunteering or donating as part of your Memorial Day tradition.

Check out ways to give back below:

The Department of Veteran Affairs
Want to thank and support your local veterans, but aren't sure where to start? Check out the Department of Veterans Affairs, and find a VA medical center, cemetery or community center near you.

To get involved, click here.

Make A Tribute Video
Whether you're a soldier or you know someone that has served, at Impact, we want to know what Memorial Day means to you. Upload a photo or add to our video tribute, and see what others are saying.

To make a video, click here.

Memorial Day Charity Runs
With the weather warming up and a day off, check out a charity run for Memorial Day. Run in honor of a fallen loved one, or find a run with a cause close to your heart.

Homes for Our Troops
Thanking service men and women on Memorial Day is one thing -- but honoring those who returned to civilan life with added hardships is another. Homes for Our Troops builds homes for seriously wounded veterans -- at no cost to the veteran.

Get involved here.

The Center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, known as "The Wall" went up to honor the soldiers who lost their lives. Since then, more tributes have been added to the site, and now the organization behind it is fundraising for an education center to tell the stories, honor the victims and preserve the history of the Vietnam War.

Find out what you can do here.

Wounded Warrior Project
The WWP's motto -- "the greatest casualty is being forgotten" -- certainly rings true on Memorial Day. The organization aids seriously wounded veterans through mental, physical and community-based programs, connecting both caregivers and wounded vets to each other as a means of therapy.

Get involved here.

To find a run near you, click here.

The National Memorial Day Parade
Looking to volunteer this year? If you're in the D.C. area, volunteer with the National Memorial Day Parade. This year, the parade is honoring the veterans of the Iraq War specifically as a tribute to the war's formal end in December.

To learn more, click here.

What do you do to commemorate Memorial Day? Tell us in the comments below!

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