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Memorial Day may conjure up images of cruising around on a boat with friends or attending a backyard BBQ, but what is it really about? Memorial Day is intended as a day that’s set aside to honor those that have died while serving our country in the armed forces. The long weekend is nice for spending time with friends and family, and it is common for people to organize gatherings to celebrate the holiday. It is also common, however, for those partaking in the festivities to lose sight of the real reason that we have the last Monday in May off of work in the first place.
It is important to be mindful of why federal buildings all across the country display the flag at the half-staff position until noon on Memorial Day. Whether you are attending one of the many parades or planning your own get-together at your apartment, you should still enjoy yourself, but do not overlook the overall point of the special day. Here are some ways you can keep Memorial Day patriotic and honor those it was created for.
A great way to show both pride in your country and respect for those who have served is to display the very flag they wear on their uniforms. Stick small flags in your outdoor plants, hang American flag mantle scarves from your balcony, or just hang a classic 3’ by 5’ American flag in a flagpole holder. There are countless ways to incorporate the American flag into your Memorial Day and show respect for those who bravely take that flag into battle in service to their country.
If you are the host of a Memorial Day party, remember that a moment of silence is nationally recognized at 3:00 pm local time. It is easy to lose sight of this aspect of the day when planning a large gathering, so be sure to let everyone know that your party will observe a one-minute reflection period to think about those lives lost defending our country. You could also take this chance after the moment of silence to recognize any current or former service men and women in attendance and thank them for wearing the uniform and protecting us back home.
If you have the opportunity, a great way to remember those we have lost is to visit a memorial or military burial site. There are many memorials and military cemeteries all over the country, and visiting a relative or friend’s burial site is a way to remember their sacrifice. It is common for volunteers to place small American flags on every grave at military cemeteries, so you could take the family to the nearest one and help out with the show of respect.
No matter how you plan on spending this Memorial Day, be sure to be mindful of the reason for the holiday.