For most Americans, Memorial Day is a chance to sleep in and get the day off of work or school. If you have children, it’s a terrific opportunity to teach them about our country, respect, honor, reverence, history, and more.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day set aside for remembrance of those who have died in our nation’s service. Memorial Day was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. The South, at first, refused to acknowledge Memorial Day, honoring their dead on separate days until after WWI. It is now observed in almost every state of the union on the last Monday of every May. Since the Civil War more than 1.1 million veterans, both women and men, have lost their lives in military service to America.
With four sons in my family, we’ve created a fun tradition with our Cub Scout pack where we place flags on the tombstones of fallen soldiers and then we present a special wreath at the cemetery’s ceremony on Memorial Day. The boys really get a kick out of reading the tombstones and imaging what the soldiers would have looked like. The parents go crazy with their cameras, taking incredibly patriotic photos of their own sons in uniform paying respect.
Memorial Day reminds us of our duties towards the wounded soldiers and the bereaved families, orphans and widows of the dead soldiers. In addition to the fun BBQ's and recreational activities of the weekend, we should take a few minutes to show our gratitude to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Here are a few ways you can honor their memory this year:
Placing flags, garlands or flowers on the grave sites.
Visiting cemeteries and memorials.
Furling the American Flag at half-mast until noon.
Furling the 'POW/MIA Flag'.
Keeping silence for a minute at 3 p.m., 'National Moment of Remembrance' and listening to Taps being played.
Taking a pledge to aid the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans of the dead and keeping it.
Offering thanks to the veterans and appreciating the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers to the bereaved families personally.
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Ok, now I can’t ignore the fact that Memorial Day also means the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation for many families in America, so here are a few more fun things to do as you get prepared for some serious fun in the sun!
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Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!