On Memorial Day, most of us enjoy a day off work and celebrate the unofficial start of summer by boating, having barbeques or shopping the Memorial Day sales. Being with loved ones is a meaningful way to spend the day, but it's also important to remember fallen soldiers and veterans on Memorial Day. Whether you take time for a moment of silence or spend the whole day reflecting, Memorial Day reminds us that freedom comes at a cost. Here are five ways to get back to the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Get The Facts About Memorial Day
Although it comes at the end of what is a happy and carefree weekend for most of us, Memorial Day is not a celebration. Wishing someone a "Happy Memorial Day" might feel appropriate, but it's actually meant to be a somber day. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, began after the Civil War, which split the country in two as everyone was forced to take a side. Decoration Day provided an opportunity to start healing as a country by coming together and honoring those who had died.
Take Part In A Memorial Day Tradition
Over the years, Memorial Day has grown to include traditions such as the red poppy of remembrance, various parades and ceremonies, and the National Moment of Remembrance. Attending parades and public ceremonies can be a great way to show your kids the importance of remembering. Even if you're busy all day, set a reminder to go off at 3 p.m. local time so you can take part in the National Moment of Remembrance. This observation, which formally began in the year 2000, calls Americans to voluntarily and informally take a moment of silence at 3 p.m. and reflect in their own way.
Decorate A Grave With Flowers
In the U.S., there are 134 national cemeteries as well as dozens of state cemeteries where veterans and soldiers are buried. Many of these cemeteries have veterans and soldiers from wars that took place long in the past. Although these cemeteries are well-maintained, many of the older graves haven't seen decoration in years. Get your family together and "adopt" an older grave by laying flowers or a wreath around it. Visiting a veteran's cemetery also provides a great opportunity to give your kids a history lesson about past wars.
Wear Red, White And Blue, But Not The Flag
Many people aren't aware that the flag is not meant to be worn as an accessory, even when it's printed as a design on fabric. Ideally, disposable items such as napkins and cups printed with the flag shouldn't be used either. The flag isn't meant to be a decoration, even though you'll start seeing it used as such in more and more places as the summer months approach. Rather than sporting your patriotism with a t-shirt or napkins, use a more generic red, white and blue color scheme or star motifs instead.
Honor The Dead By Supporting Living Veterans
Although Memorial Day is when we honor the fallen, you don't have to wait until Veterans Day in November to show your support of living veterans. Many veterans are in need of assistance, whether it's help accessing healthcare or simply the need for companionship. There are countless ways to reach out and make a difference for veterans on Memorial Day. One of the easiest ways is to donate your car to Vehicles For Veterans. You'll receive a tax deduction and free towing for your donation. On top of that, your donation helps give disabled veterans a better life. Donate your car to Vehicles For Veterans today by calling 1-855-811-4838 or filling out an online car donation form.