Memorial Day, which falls on May 28 this year, honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originating from the Civil War, Memorial Day was officially declared a federal holiday in 1971 by Congress to be observed on the last Monday in May. For many of us, it’s a day off work or school and the unofficial start to the summer season. Before firing up the barbeque or taking a dip in the swimming pool, consider paying your respects to our fallen heroes by taking part in a Memorial Day event around your community. Here are some ideas:
Attend a Memorial Day ceremony
Most communities hold some type of Memorial Day ceremony. By doing an internet search or checking your local news outlets, you can find out what’s going on in your area.
Place a flag/poppy on the graves of veterans
Check to see if a group in your community has organized plans to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. This is a meaningful way to pay homage to those who lost their lives in battle. Please review and adhere to cemetery guidelines.
Observe the National Moment of Silence at 3 p.m.
Congress passed The National Moment of Remembrance Act to honor America’s fallen heroes. Per the law, signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2000, Americans – wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day – are encouraged to pause for one minute as part of an act of national unity.
Get the kids involved
Teach the children in your life the meaning behind Memorial Day, and the importance of honoring those who served in the military and died. Attend a Memorial Day parade in your community with the little ones. They’ll be able to see the community, and other veterans, paying tribute to those we’ve lost. Looking for other ways to get them involved? Print free Memorial Day coloring pages (http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/holidays/memorial-day-coloring-pages/) or complete a craft.
Lastly, Memorial Day should not be confused with Veterans Day. Simply put: Memorial Day pays tribute to those who died while in battle, and Veterans Day honors all who have served in the military.
So, this Memorial Day, set aside some time to reflect on those who lost their lives fighting for our freedoms. You’ll probably still have time to enjoy your barbeque or that dip in the pool.