8 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day with Your Family
By Rachel Schmoyer
The Civil War left a cloud of grief hovering over our nation. So many lives were lost during the battles and as a result of war time conditions. Our nation needed a way to honor those who had fallen. In 1866 the people of Waterloo, New York began an annual community event to remember. Other communities in the country also decorated graves and raised memorials so they would never forget the sacrifices made for freedom. The traditions continued and officially became Memorial Day in 1971 when the last Monday of May was declared an official holiday.
Today Memorial Day celebrations honor those who have lost their lives in war time and also honor veterans.
Other towns use the day to infuse a patriotic spirit into their community. In the midst of your bargain shopping and your family picnics, set aside time to truly honor Memorial Day.
Here are 8 ways how you can celebrate Memorial Day:
Share your family history. You know that your uncle or your cousin served our country, but don’t take it for granted that your children or grandchildren know. Talk to them. You may even want to write it down. My mother is the genealogist in our family. She is writing a one page essay on each ancestor she has discovered including those who were in the service.
Post a picture and a memory on Facebook of those who have fought for our nation.
Find a local Memorial Day service. These services are often held at a cemetery or a VFW. A local news station or newspaper is the best place to find out details.
Talk about the freedoms you have in your country. If you are having a picnic, before the meal, gather together and mention what you are thankful for about the United States. We take for granted what we have here. Too often we focus on the complaints we have about our country. Voice your attitude of thankfulness for those who have fought for our country especially for those who have lost their lives.
Decorate the graves of the fallen. Purchase some small flags and go to a cemetery. Find the graves that are marked as military and stick a flag near the gravestone. Take a moment at each graveside to remember. Take your small children, too. Children remember what they do more than what they are told. The children can develop a respect for our military and our country by decorating the gravesites.
Listen to patriotic music. There may even be a live concert in your area.
Thank a veteran. Ask them about their service time. My next door neighbor is a World War II veteran. Not too long ago we sat on the front stoop together as he told about his time in India in the signal corps. Listen to their stories before it is too late.
Watch a patriotic movie to refresh your memory about the effects of war on our nation. Some family friendly choices are Molly, An American Girl on the Home Front, The Littlest Rebel with Shirley Temple, and Liberty Kids, an animated mini-series about the Revolutionary War.
How will your family honor Memorial Day this year? Comment below.
About the Author
Rachel Schmoyer is a pastor’s wife and mom of four. She blogs about finding simple truths in complex passages of Scripture at Read the Hard Parts. She also writes about parenting and other adventures at Rachel Schmoyer Writes. If she is not writing, she is probably reading, most likely a biography of one of the First Ladies of the United States.
You can connect with Rachel online on Twitter.
You can read Rachel's "Family Life" column on the 4th Monday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.