KEY POINTS

  • March 4 marks National Hug A G.I. Day
  • It's the perfect time to show our appreciation for past and present G.I.s 
  • Apart from hugging a G.I., there are also other ways to show your respect

National Hug A G.I. Day continues the patriotic celebrations of Wednesday's National Anthem Day. It is celebrated annually on March 4, which is actually fitting since it falls on the only day of the year that sounds like a military command: "March forth!"

On this occasion, we show our appreciation for the G.I.s. Although people tend to think of those in the Army when they hear the term G.I., it actually covers all the servicemen and servicewomen in the U.S. military, regardless of which branch they come from, National Today explained.

Interestingly, it wasn't announced through an official proclamation. According to Military Benefit, it was actually started by a private citizen who also created close to 2,000 other holidays, including National Pandemonium Day and Ant Appreciation Month.

"At that point in time, this is when we all rally together and I personally would like to wish all our Military People, both near and afar - from past to present wars for staking and putting their Lives and Limbs on the Line for us," Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, the creator of National Hug A G.I. Day, said in a blogpost.

"For without you, we would not have any freedoms even the FUN freedoms of surfing The Internet to posting jokes on Facebook to staying out late to enjoying the pleasures that life offers us - as we are having today and doing 'write' now," she added.

On this day, families, friends and even strangers can show extra appreciation for G.I.s for their services. Here are some of the simple ways to do it, courtesy of National Today, Military Benefits and National Day Calendar:

Obviously, Give Them A Hug

Since it is National Hug a G.I. Day, the simplest and most direct way to show your appreciation is by giving a G.I. a hug, whether they are family, friends or even strangers.

But you need to make sure that they're okay with it. Some veterans or currently serving military members may "wish to give consent" before hugging, for instance, because of injuries that may not be obvious, Military Benefits explained.

But even a handshake or a gentle pat on the back can express your appreciation. 

Send A Care Package

People who would like to send something special to show their appreciation may also opt to send care packages or perhaps letters via non-profit organizations that send packages to soldiers, National Today suggested. Some of the most requested items are playing cards, snacks, toiletries and handwritten letters. 

Send A 'Virtual Hug'

Those who are far away from the G.I.s can simply send out a "virtual hug" to them. They can choose to text, call, email or even snail mail a G.I. they know, National Day Calendar suggested, or perhaps post a message of general appreciation for G.I.s on social media.

Those posting on social media may use #NationalHugaGIDay or #HugAGIDay to spread the word about the event. This way, those who may not know about the occasion can send their own hugs, too.

No matter how you choose to celebrate the occasion, people should genuinely show their appreciation for the G.I.s who sacrifice a lot in service of the country.

Military salute Pictured: Representative image of a soldier saluting. Photo: Pixabay