History Backs Effort To Support Service Members By Volunteering

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History is helping to promote Operation Honor Cards, a program that encourages all Americans to give thanks to service members, veterans and military families by doing volunteer work in local communities.

From now, until Veterans Day, the program is simple: pledge service hours, find a community service project and report your hours.

Honor Cards and Will and Kate

Working in cooperation with the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the White House's Joining Forces initiative, Operation Honor Cards will also collect physical honor cards that individuals or organizations can fill out to thank service members, veterans or military families. 

To showcase the cards, Honor Walls will be displayed in locations such as Capitol Hill, V.A. hospitals and military bases.

History has teamed with the group Blue Star Families in the effort, which thus far has collected pledges of 3 million service hours, with a goal of 5 million hours pledged.

History and Blue Star Families will visit schools in the Washington, D.C., area in support of Operation Honor Cards between Sept. 11 and Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

The network also will support the program though online/social media, educational materials, community events and original on-air programming, including celebrity public service announcements (PSAs).

"Military families and veterans deserve our support, and History is proud to partner with Blue Star Families to give back to those who serve," Dr. Libby O'Connell, SVP corporate outreach and chief historian at History, said in a statement. "A recent survey amazed me: 92% of military families feel ignored and neglected by civilians. Operation Honor Cards is one way we can start to reverse this trend."

Added Blue Star Families' executive director Mark D. Smith: "While only 1% of our country serves in the Armed Forces, we truly believe that everyone can and should serve in their own way. Operation Honor Cards gives the civilian community a chance to make a real difference and an opportunity to say thank you by pledging community service hours in honor of military families."

As an official partner with Blue Star Families, History also will run the organization's original PSAs that deal with military-family suicide prevention. Produced by The Creative Coalition, the PSAs kick off at the end of July 2011 and feature many Hollywood celebrities and athletes.

History has had a comprehensive campaign to support veterans and their families.

In 2007, the network launched the "Take a Veteran to School Day" program to connect veterans with schools and communities nationwide.

The following year, History implemented "Thank a Veteran at Work," which encouraged corporations and organizations to thank veterans in the workplace.

History also has helped educate Americans about the challenges veterans face, having conducted a PSA campaign featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, as well as New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Los Angles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, actor Bradley Cooper and athlete Johnny Damon. The PSAs aired on History and other A&E networks in 2010, and the campaign will continue in 2011.

Operation Honor Cards is a joint project of Blue Star Families, the American Red Cross and Service Nation: Mission Serve, working together with the Veterans Administration, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Department of Defense. 

Individuals and organizations can register online by visiting www.honorcards.org or www.veterans.com.