What are RED Fridays and what do they mean?

On Fridays, military spouses and loved ones wear red. The idea of R.E.D. Fridays has been around for a while, but you may not have heard of it until your loved one deploys for the first time.

R.E.D. stands for “Remember Everyone Deployed.” On Fridays, you’ll notice many military spouses and family members wear a red shirt to honor a deployed service member. But why do we have this unique tradition in the military community?

What do RED Fridays represent in the military community?

When the Iraq war started, it was the first time in our generation that we had actually declared war, and Americans had some mixed feelings about it. When troops started to return home from Iraq, they were met with a variety of reactions. Some Americans were very supportive and wanted to buy dinner for any soldier in a uniform. Others held rallies in Washington to boo the military while trampling on the flag.

Military families wanted to find a way to encourage people to support the troops–our men and women who sacrifice so much to fight for and defend our country. You can support the troops regardless of your political view of a particular war. So a grassroots idea was developed and circulated as an email chain: let everyone show their support on Fridays by wearing red. The troops can be welcomed by a sea of red, and it will raise awareness for all the families who sacrifice their service members to deployments.

Who started the RED Friday tradition?

The idea caught hold in Canada and became immensely popular there by 2007 (partly because red is Canada’s national color.) The idea was then re-introduced in America a few years ago, and became popular in all military communities. Family members of someone deployed can wear red shirts on Fridays to remind others that they know someone who is deployed. Businesses and co-workers can get involved in the movement too, even if they aren’t related to a military member!

It’s a great reminder that even during times of “peace,” there are still American troops deployed all over the world, helping to keep that peace. Behind every great service member is a family: father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife, children. We all have someone to support. Who are you wearing red for?

If you are looking for red shirt ideas? There are plenty on Pinterest! Want to have a custom shirt made? There are so many military spouses and veterans who do this as a home business. Ask around your unit or your base to see if you can support a local small business while supporting your service member.


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