By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse
Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer season: barbecues, trips to the beach, catching fire flies, eating ice cream cones and building sand castles. But more importantly, it is also a day to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. With all the summer fanfare, sometimes in the middle of a military move, it can be difficult to observe the historical significance of the day, especially for our children. Below are some ideas for ways your family can honor and remember the true meaning of the day.
Commemorate Memorial Day
- Visit your local Veteran’s cemetery or war memorial. Many cemeteries put flags on all the graves. Additionally, you can check for local volunteer opportunities to help place flags on gravestones.
- Take treats such as homemade cookies or brownies to a nearby Veteran’s hospital. Call ahead to make sure such donations are allowed. Another idea is to collect books or movies to donate.
- Attend a Memorial Day parade or memorial service. You can also watch the National Memorial Day Parade on television.
- Get your craft on! Several websites offer Memorial Day crafts, coloring pages, word searches, puzzles and more. Here is one with several projects for the kids: Enchanted Learning
- Have the kids create artwork or sign a card to be sent to a deployed Soldier or Marine. These websites offer information on how to send care packages and letters: A Million Thanks or Any Soldier
- Have a family movie night to learn the history behind famous battles of the past. In the weeks surrounding Memorial Day, the History Channel as well as The Military Channel run shows that highlight our military history.
- Turn the red, white and blue on around the house! Decorate with flags and other patriotic items. If you have a flag pole, fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until 12 noon.
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies which became associated with Memorial Day through the John McCrae poem “In Flanders Fields.” For the past 92 years, poppy donations have gone to rehab and service programs for disabled vets.
- Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. Americans are asked to pause whatever they are doing for one minute at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day as a sign of national unity.
- Visit a Museum of Military History. Teach children about history and the heroes who make history by visiting a local military museum.
Take the Time
These are ten, easy ideas for celebrating Memorial Day as a family, even if you are in the process of a military move. What are you planning to do to commemorate Memorial Day with your family this year?
Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children.