A True Memorial Day Celebration
Posted by Steph Perine on May 04, 2018
While many also regard it as the unofficial start of summer, it’s important to realize that Memorial Day weekend is more than just a long weekend off work or school. Specifically, Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) is a national holiday meant to pay tribute and remembrance to American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. With Memorial Day weekend quickly approaching, now is a good time for parents to talk with their children about the true meaning behind this special holiday—as well as plan some special activities to celebrate patriotically. Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly Memorial Day weekend activities that don’t break the bank and help you and your loved ones celebrate the true meaning of the holiday.
Get Involved With a Local Parade
If you live anywhere near a city that hosts an annual Memorial Day parade, make plans to get involved in any way you can. It can be as simple as showing up along the parade route and waving an American flag on the day of the parade. Participating in a Memorial Day parade is a great way to put your patriotism on display. If you want to take things a step further, you might consider volunteering to help decorate a parade float in the days and weeks leading up to the big day; this is a project that can be fun for the entire family!
Volunteer With a Local Veteran Program
It’s important to understand the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the latter of which is designated to recognize all those who have served honorably in the military. However, this is still a great time to show respect and care towards local veterans on this patriotic holiday. Check with your local veterans hospital or other organizations to see if there are any volunteer opportunities you and your family can take part in. For example, your local VFW may participate in the widely known Buddy Poppy program; if so, they could probably use some help putting together the poppy flowers they use to bring in donations.
Put Together a Soldier Care Package
Current members of the military greatly appreciate care packages and simply knowing that their service is appreciated, especially around Memorial Day. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to put together an excellent soldier care package. In fact, you can likely find a lot of the essentials at your local dollar store. Consider loading up one (or more!) soldier care packages with items like socks, toiletries, and non-perishable food items. Depending on the age of your children, you might even consider asking them to include a thoughtful letter within the care package thanking the soldier for his or her service.
Make Patriotic Decorations for Your Home
Aside from flying the American flag outside your home, there are plenty of other ways you can show off your patriotism on Memorial Day and throughout the rest of the year. You can find all kinds of great ideas for patriotic craft projects online, many of which are simple enough that children of all ages can get involved. Consider, for example, making a red, white, and blue wreath to hang proudly on your front door. You can also hang a few patriotic banners from your front porch, or even set out some beautiful red, white, and blue potted flowers.
Teach Your Children How to Fly the American Flag
If you do plan on flying the American flag outside your home for Memorial Day weekend, make sure you’re doing so properly and that you take the time to explain this to your children. It’s important that they understand the American flag is a vital symbol of our country, and that flying the flag respectfully is a must. On Memorial Day specifically, the flag should be flown at half-mast until noon. This is the portion of the day that the country should be considered at mourning. After noon, the flag should be raised to full mast. Having your children help with lowering and raising the flag, as well as explaining the significance of a half-mast flag, are great ways to get them involved.
Visit a Historical Landmark or Cemetery
If there is a local veterans cemetery or landmark, you might also consider stopping for a visit to pay your respects to fallen soldiers. Setting small American flags at soldiers’ graves is a beautiful way to show respect and remembrance.
These are just a few family-friendly and inexpensive ways to celebrate the true spirit of Memorial Day and teach your children first-hand the importance of honoring and remembering fallen soldiers for their ultimate sacrifice for our country.