Public Service Recognition Week: Celebrating Those Who Serve
The first person to set foot on the moon. The creator of flame-retardant clothing. The inventor of an early tsunami detection system. Caregivers for veterans and wounded soldiers. Your mailman.
What do they all have in common? They are all public servants. More than 3 million Americans are classified as “public servants,” non-uniformed employees of the federal government that work in all three branches, from the county level all the way up to federal roles.
For the last 30 years, the first week in May has been proclaimed Public Service Recognition Week, with governmental bodies in various cities and states taking time to thank their local public servants. The branches of the armed forces as well make grateful gestures to the civilians who help support the servicemen and women, and President Obama joins in with a letter of thanks.
“Our Nation's progress has long been fueled by the efforts of selfless citizens who come together in service to their fellow Americans to change our country for the better,” President Obama stated in his 2016 Presidential Proclamation. “This week, let us embrace the hopeful spirit that embodies the extraordinary work of our civil servants. It is the same spirit that built America, and because of the hard work of compassionate and determined public servants, it will continue to build us up for generations to come.”
The honorary week was first celebrated in 1988 and was established by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER), a non-partisan coalition of government organizations representing civil servants and retirees. When it instituted the recognition week, its goal was to recognize quality work and to educate Americans on the role and value of public servants.
While the 2016 week is technically over, there are still many ways you can honor the public servants in your community and all the hard work (though typically under-appreciated) they do on a daily basis. For example:
- Follow PSRW on social media. The hashtag #psrw includes a wide range of thank you notes, articles, and even public servants themselves celebrating the week. Like their comments and share their pictures.
- Thank a public servant in your life. Whether it’s a short handwritten note, an email, or even a voicemail, taking the time to recognize the work a public servant has committed to supporting our country can mean so much.
- Teach your students or your own children/grandchildren about public service with a free teacher’s guide. This PDF also includes an overview of how our government is structured and how it works.
- Engage your local schools. You can host a poster or essay contest, or even set up a “job shadow” for the most exciting public servant job.
- Learn about how to request a proclamation in your city so that you can honor your local public servants in 2017.
We at VeteranAid.org would like to thank all public servants who keep our nation and government working, inventing, and excelling.
Written by Megan Hammons