As you’re gearing up for your weekend getaway or prepping the grill for a backyard barbeque, keep in mind that Memorial Day means so much more. It all started after the Civil War, when Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, ordered “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” Since then, the last Monday of every May has been dedicated to the purpose of honoring fallen soldiers. Take some time out this weekend to pay your respects! Here’s how:
1. National Moment of Remembrance
A simple yet meaningful way to honor our lost servicemen and women is to pause wherever you are at 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence. In your own way, reflect and remember the soldiers that have given up their lives for our country.
2. Attend a Memorial Day Parade
Heading to the nation’s capital on Monday? Pay your respects and have some fun by volunteering or participating in a Memorial Day Parade! If you have never been to Washington, DC before, this is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city while honoring a great cause. The parade will include marching bands, floats, service members, and much more. If you don’t live in the area, check your local community event calendar for parade or Memorial Day event information.
3. Send a Thank You Letter
Memorial Day is for remembrance, but why not send a thank you letter to a soldier currently serving? Check the website for drop-off locations and send a heartfelt, appreciative letter to our troops. Tell them a little about yourself, and include your email address if you wish to get a response back. You can also elect to include a donation!
4. Visit a National Cemetery
The VA has over 100 National Cemeteries across the nation. Find one in your area and be part of the most traditional way to recognize Memorial Day. Bring flowers and small flags and honor the dead with a moment of silence and a respectful walk along the grounds.
5. Give back to our Wounded Warriors
A great way to give back to our military is by volunteering with the Wounded Warrior Project. You can donate your time, money, even a social media post to spread the word about the project! One fun way to honor our troops with the WWP is to participate in the Tough Mudder Challenge, a 10-12 mile obstacle course event that takes place in locations across the country. Grab your friends, and show your appreciation in a big way.
These are just some of the ways you can recognize Memorial Day this upcoming Monday. Whether it’s through donation, participation, or a minute of reflection, remember the real reason we all get a three-day weekend!