The United States has been a nation at war since 2001. In the aftermath of 9/11, the country entered the Global War on Terror, a protracted, hard-to-measure conflict that has taken U.S. forces to multiple countries around the world.
One thing is certain, Americans understand that society mistreated returning war veterans in the Vietnam War. So, it would make sense that Americans have tried to heal that wound by overwhelmingly supporting troops during Desert Storm in the 1990s and later through patriotic support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom after the 9/11 attacks.
But the Global War on Terror has been America’s longest war and in our digital age, some Americans have lost sight of the fact that we are still a nation at war. Many have become distracted by what is happening in their own lives.
Sometime in 2005, a call-to-action e-mail was sent by an unknown party. Where the e-mail originated is unknown. Whom received it is unknown, but the e-mail encouraged people to wear red on Fridays as an act of support for deployed troops. The e-mail circulated around the nation quickly
The e-mail also recommended to the recipient that they not only wear red for RED Fridays (RED is an acronym that means Remember Everyone Deployed), but that they circulate the e-mail and mobilize various groups to support the call to action. More than 15 years later, many companies and organizations encourage people to wear red on Fridays to show support of deployed service personnel around the world.
What is RED Friday? For service members who are deployed the act itself, civilians wearing red items of clothing on Fridays, probably doesn’t equate to a tangible gain. However, when service members see the public’s support via social media or in an e-mail, it can definitely boost morale within a unit. The support does give many service members a sense of purpose downrange and a feeling that the nation is behind them.
However, the simple act of wearing a red shirt can lead to support of troop-related programs that provide concrete support to the soldiers while they are deployed. How? In a corporate setting, an employee might not be aware of RED Fridays and when that person sees other team members wearing red, naturally they will ask what is RED Friday? When it is explained to them, that individual might consider donating to a veteran organization that supports troops while deployed or helps them transition after redeployment.
In addition, if someone in an organization asks what is RED Friday because of others wearing red, it has helped raise awareness of the fact that men and women are deployed and that as a nation people should be thankful and support them. That support might manifest itself into care packages or letters for the troops.
In companies and organizations that are intimately involved with the military population, it is rare to hear someone ask what is RED Friday? Most people know and most people participate in the show of support. But unless that company or organization works with the military community, or is owned or led by a veteran, many companies and organizations do not know about RED Friday. That’s why it is up to everyone to ensure people know about RED Fridays.
If you’re an employee at a company or if you are a member of an organization, don’t wait for people to ask what is RED Friday? If they do not know, explain to them that wearing red on Fridays shows support for military personnel deployed overseas. And go one further, organize a care package or letter writing drive. Far too often the men and women of our Armed Forces are forgotten until we need them.
What is RED Friday? It is a way that Americans across the country can show support to the men and women of the U.S. military, and all they have to do is wear something red.