Military members are still deploying.
Despite the formal end of combat missions in the Middle East 2 years ago, it didn’t end deployments for service members. There is an ongoing American presence there. In addition, service members are receiving deployment orders to other locales.
Because deployments are something that military families face regularly, the commissary employees wanted to remember those service members. If you like the Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) Facebook page, you might have noticed the pictures of commissary employees wearing red on your news feed.
The commissary started posting pictures of employees wearing red on Fridays in January this year.
They have shared images from DeCA’s headquarters in Fort Lee to Fort Hood and even OCONUS in Kadena Air Base to name a few. The first commissary DeCA featured on the Facebook page was Camp Zama. Using the hashtag “#supportourtroops,” the commissary regularly shows employees standing in solidarity for our men and women in uniform (and sometimes posing with some in uniform!).
Why do the commissary employees wear red on Fridays?
Well, red is actually an acronym. It spells out Remember Everyone Deployed (R.E.D.) and the connection to the color red was a natural fit. The two messages join together and is easy to digest when you’re sharing its message with those around you.
In the midst of rigorous deployment cycles about 10 years ago, that’s when R.E.D. Fridays came about.
The reasoning to wear red on Fridays is fuzzy though. As I was researching, I found several different stories of the origin.
According to the Soldier’s Angels website, the R.E.D. Friday movement began as an email chain letter in 2005. It asked Americans that supported our troops to rally together and wear red on Fridays. It would serve as a statement to the American public and service members showing that they are supported.
The Soldier’s Angels website continues to say that there is a connection to R.E.D. Friday in Canada as well. When I realized I had a run for my money with the origin, I enlisted the help of my husband to see if we can pinpoint conception together.
Alas, we couldn’t nail down specifics, just lots of stories.
He found some notes stating that Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) might have started the trend. Also, there is an organization called Red Shirt Fridays that took the idea of wearing red shirts on Fridays into a bigger initiative.
What it comes down to is that despite being able to be specific about the start of the movement the idea itself stuck and stood the test of time. Service members are the focus of the initiative and that very important message never got lost.
R.E.D. Friday is a way for military families and supporters (like the commissary employees) to stand with those that are away due to service on a specific day. Whatever the actual reason was to pick Friday, it doesn’t matter as much as the message that it conveys (remember everyone deployed).
Now, not only does the commissary participate in the R.E.D. Friday initiative, I hear about it getting passed along at my current duty station and beyond. Also, schools and other communities are reporting that they are wearing red on Fridays.
I like that there is a message out there that calls out the sacrifice of deployment and shows service members our support.