Most of us consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial kick-off of summer. And, most of us honor this day in the same way. You may put out the American flag, attend a yummy BBQ, and enjoy a spectacular fireworks show. While that plan is great, why not take full advantage of this Memorial Day holiday by learning more about our armed forces and celebrate their service and sacrifice for our freedom? If you’re looking for a way to bring more honor to your Memorial Day 2017 celebration, read on!
History of Memorial Day
One of the first ways you can properly honor Memorial Day 2017 is to teach your children the history behind the holiday. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May each year. Previously called “Decoration Day,” it is the official day where our nation honors those who have died in service to their country. Memorial Day honors all men and women who have perished in any of the five branches of our armed forces. Memorial Day started after the Civil War, which remains the deadliest conflict in US history, and it was originally called Decoration Day. This day was “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Since then, the holiday has grown to include local and national celebrations and acts of remembrance that include public officials from mayors to the President of the United States attending special events to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. At 3 p.m. on each Memorial Day is the national moment of remembrance, usually marked by a moment of silence where we are encouraged to consider all that has been sacrificed and lost by those who dedicated and gave their lives for our nation. Learn more about the history of this important holiday by watching this moving video from history.com.
Honoring Memorial Day
This year, our family wants to be intentional about honoring and celebrating Memorial Day. And while we still plan to attend a cookout at a friend’s and watch fireworks, I also want to instill a sense of gratefulness and respect into my children, something I believe is so important in these uncertain times. Here are a few ideas and ways our family will be paying respect to our fallen heroes on Memorial Day this year.
- Officially observe the National Moment of Remembrance by being silent at 3 p.m.
- Spend time this May researching your family history and learning about those in your family who gave their lives in foreign and national conflicts. I plan to have each name read, as well as their branch and dates of service, after the Moment of Remembrance.
- Attend a local Memorial Day parade and say “thank you” to each service member you meet.
- Visit a local VFW and purchase a poppy.
- Put out the American flag and teach your children about its rich history and the many transformations it has undergone.
- Create and send a care package for those currently serving in the Armed Forces.
We are beyond blessed to be able to see, speak with, and hug our loved ones this Memorial Day. Many do not have that blessing because those they love have lost their lives in service or are currently serving far from the comforts of home. Honor them and pass on the legacy of truly memorializing those brave heroes this Memorial Day 2017. This is how we honor and respect those who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.