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AARP Vital Voices: Saluting America’s Military — 2021 Insights on Their National and Community Service

The U.S. Armed Forces step up to meet the coronavirus pandemic

The mission of America’s military is to ensure our nation’s security. Whether at home or abroad, the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces step up time and again to protect America’s interests and provide support to unforeseen and unthinkable challenges, the latest of which being the global coronavirus pandemic.  A recent AARP survey found those who have worn America’s uniform and their family members answered the call again during COVID-19 by working countless hours to provide relief at the community, state, and national levels. Over the past 15 months, these frontline service members provided much needed aid across the country by

  • sending naval hospital ships to the Los Angeles and New York areas to help relieve their hospitals’ growing patient admissions 
  • deploying the U.S. National Guard to run testing sites, build medical stations on reservations, distribute food, and work call centers 
  • directing the U.S. Air Force to transport Covid-19 test kits and fly abroad to bring U.S. citizens home.  

AARP’s Vital Voices survey found that America’s military and their immediate families helped loved ones, friends, and neighbors cope with the coronavirus pandemic.  At least half of them talked more often with family or friends via technology or ran errands for them and supported their local businesses.  More than one in three provided financial assistance to family, friends, or neighbors and donated more money to charities.  Another one in three say they are currently providing unpaid care to a relative or friend, and many others helped school age children with their classwork, helped family or friends digitally connect to healthcare, and volunteered at a local organization. 


How U.S. Service Member Respondents Helped Others Cope With the COVID-19 Pandemic

AARP has more than 5 million members nationwide who have served our country. We know the men and women of America’s military will continue to answer the call to serve and sacrifice on behalf of Old Glory. They will continue to stay active in their communities, supporting those who need a hand.  While Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their all in defending America, we also should salute those who continue to serve in countless ways. AARP is on a mission to support Veterans, Military, and their families. 

To learn more about AARP’s free resources and programs for Veterans and Military Families, visit


Among the 805 U.S. adults ages 45 and older who completed the survey in the summer of 2020, just over half (417 or 52%) say they or a family member have served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard. 


Suggested citation:

Bonner, Aisha. Saluting America's Military: 2021 Insights on Their National and Community Service. Washington, DC: May 2021.