Celebrating patriotic holidays: A primer for agents

Knowing what each holiday is meant to celebrate and observing the tone can save you from an embarrassing interaction with a client

Holidays are for celebrating, right? We celebrate the birth of our nation, a significant religious event, change-makers in U.S. history, and, well, trees on Arbor Day.

Given agents’ intense desire to stay top-of-mind, many of us post holiday greetings and calendar reminders for every little thing — and without a lot of forethought. (How many reminders did you get to “spring forward” this year? Too many.)

With all of this holiday outreach, however, we do need to make sure our message is accurate and certainly aim to avoid offense.

At MILLIE, a trusted source for military families on the move, we are sensitive to military-related topics. We recently noticed some “Happy Memorial Day” posts circulating, which struck us as well-intentioned, but those posts definitely missed the mark.

We understand that even people familiar with the military tend to blur the meanings of Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day, so as the Fourth of July nears, here’s a primer for real estate agents to illuminate the differences among these observances and provide suggestions about how to connect appropriately with your clients on these special days.

Memorial Day

A U.S. public holiday in May that honors those who died in military service

Memorial Day remembers those who have given their lives in military service to our nation during war, but recent marketing puts most of the emphasis on cookouts and pool parties.

In the early 1900s, millions of Americans served in uniform. Our connection to the military was personal on many levels, and almost no family was left untouched by loss.

As time went on, wars got smaller and were fought differently, with fewer people lost. However, this shift has led to a growing personal detachment from those who serve and from the real meaning of Memorial Day.

Real estate agents wishing to acknowledge the day should remember that this is a personal and solemn holiday for many Americans, and a “Happy Memorial Day” message to clients can be perceived as at least tone-deaf, if not offensive.

Instead, consider honoring service members by participating in a parade or a wreath-laying service. Make a personal connection by sending a message of remembrance and support to families of fallen service members.

If you wish to touch all of your clients with a Memorial Day message, make sure it strikes a respectful tone fitting the true meaning of a remembrance holiday.

Independence Day

The celebration of the birth of the nation

On July 4, 1776, the American colonies were declared free and independent states from Great Britain. Although not a specifically military holiday, the mechanism for independence was the Revolutionary War.

Since that time, even when the war was ongoing, Americans held various celebrations of independence, including feasts, rifle salutes, songs, prayers and fireworks. Today, the holiday mood is celebratory and patriotic for Americans.

Real estate agents, today is the day to celebrate! Feel free to wave flags and cheer. Host beach parties and barbecues, sponsor fireworks displays, buy a “look-at-me” float in the local parade, and bring all the spirited fun you can muster to this day.

Show off your love of your community and country in your actions, gifts and messages on the Fourth of July. This holiday is for every American!

Veterans Day

A U.S. public holiday observed on Nov. 11 that honors military veterans, meaning persons who used to serve in the U.S. armed forces

Veterans Day is for all those who have served in the past and in all branches of service, including active-duty, reserve and National Guard troops. And there’s no requirement to have formally retired from the military to be considered a veteran.

Although it might be tempting to honor those currently serving on Veterans Day, that is not technically correct, and it was not the intent of the holiday when created.

Service has been difficult and complicated for many, so this isn’t a fun-filled holiday. Living veterans’ experience ranges from WWII era to current day conflicts — a broad range of war and peacetime experiences — but the common thread is the honor of service.

On Veterans Day, real estate agents can participate by thanking veterans, learning about and honestly acknowledging the hardships of military life and the ongoing challenges living veterans face, and supporting community organizations working on those issues.

Encourage people in your sphere to do the same by leading the way. If you’re a “pop-by” type, and you have veteran clients, send a card or small “thank you” gift with the underlying message of “I see you, and I appreciate you.”

If you are a veteran or military spouse and a real estate agent, you might consider sharing your military experience with your clients, demonstrating that you know and understand the issues surrounding the military.

Armed Forces Day

Also in May, Armed Forces Day honors those currently serving in the U.S. military

While Memorial Day celebrates those who died in service to the country, and Veterans Day honors those whose service is complete, Armed Forces Day honors those still serving.

The guidelines for real estate agents marketing this day are the same as Veterans Day, but the audience is different. Focus your community involvement and outreach efforts on those currently serving in the military.

We at MILLIE applaud real estate agents for including service members and their families in their conversations about homebuying, and we especially appreciate those who take time to learn how to serve this group, armed with facts and a high standard of care.

Always know MILLIE is here as a resource if you have questions, and use this guide to the patriotic holidays to make your marketing the best it can be.

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SAVE MY SEAT

Alison Wisnom is MILLIE’s Agent Intel Director, owner of West + Main Transactions and broker with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook