JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Since 1996, American citizens have identified March 4th as Hug a GI Day to honor and appreciate the United States military. In honor of Hug a GI Day Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational counseling and college scholarships for military children who’ve lost a parent in the line of duty, is collecting “virtual hugs” in the form of donations.
More than 97% of those killed in action are men, leaving mothers, who earn on average less than $50,000 per year, with the financial responsibilities of raising a family. Donors can text “College” to 31996 to make a contribution.
Fallen Patriots has identified more than 6,000 students who qualify for financial assistance, and they have helped over 600 scholars attend and graduate from some of the top universities in the country. However, there’s approximately 14,000 more children that could use Fallen Patriots help, if they only knew about them.
For some, Hug a GI Day is a celebration of their loved soldier being home from deployment. For others, this day is a time to celebrate soldiers who have sacrificed their safety for our protection. Gold Star military children have endured the ultimate sacrifice, not having a parent to hug.
Gold Star military scholar Brandi Anderson was only seven when her dad, Michael Charles Anderson, was killed by a mortar launched at his camp in Iraq.
“I miss my dad most when I go to a wedding and I imagine getting married and not having my dad walk me down the aisle to give me away,” explained Anderson. “It is times like these that his death becomes more prevalent to me and I understand to a fuller degree just what missing him is.”
Brandi Anderson has a collection of hugs with her dad through the memories she holds in photographs. Though ordinary to most, she no longer has her dad to hug. His memory stays alive in her heart. Fallen Patriots is asking for followers to send virtual hugs to students like Brandi, by making a small donation.
They say a hug is a handshake from the heart. Fallen Patriots wants every citizen to remember and say thanks to those GI members for their invaluable act of bravery in protecting and serving the country and to consider giving back to those families who’ve lost a loved one while serving the United States.