This year, our celebrations may look different than years past. But, this is a great time to make Memorial Day more meaningful than your normal pool party or backyard BBQ. Memorial Day is an important holiday for our country. Choose a few of these activities to get back to the true purpose for the holiday and help your kids honor the day.
1. Explain What Memorial Day Is
Memorial Day is a national holiday honoring men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It was first celebrated in 1868 when a Union general declared May 30 as the day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May. PBS has a great video that describes the history of the holiday in greater detail.
2. Attend a Local Ceremony
Many communities hold ceremonies honoring deceased members of their communities. Your attendance would mean the world to the families of the fallen and would create great meaning for your children. Depending on the event, you can lay flowers on the graves of the fallen and say their names aloud.
3. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance
The National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that asks Americans to pause for one minute beginning at 3pm local time to honor those who have died in military service to our country. Families can be creative and find a way to honor the fallen--maybe light a candle or sing a special song. We like this clip of The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" playing TAPS. You can also read a Proclamation by the President on the White House website.
4. Make a Special Patriotic Dessert
Go all out patriotic and make a red, white, and blue dessert. This is especially popular with the little ones. Find ways they can help prepare or serve these treats. Check out our Pinterest page for some great ideas. We really love these white chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
5. Share the Story of Poppies and Make Some
The famous poem, "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, describes a World War I battlefield. Poppies were in bloom all over the landscape. Experts believe poppies can only grow and thrive in soil that is frequently disturbed. It soon became a tradition to wear a paper poppy on Memorial Day. Learn to make one here.
6. Fly Your Flag
This is a great time to unfurl your flag and give the kids a lesson on flag etiquette. You could even have your own ceremony and possibly learn to fold the flag as well. We love this infographic from Vertical Measures.
7. Read a Book
There are so many great books to help tell the story of America and Memorial Day. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The Wall by Eve Bunting
- America by Lynne Cheney
- Memorial Day Surprise by Theresa Martin Golding
8. Download Our Patriotic Graphics
We have great patriotic graphics you can download for FREE and use on your social media accounts.
Take time this Memorial Day to stop and reflect on the sacrifice some made. You can still have the BBQ or the pool party, but why not throw in some tradition and learning for your kids? How do you like to honor Memorial Day? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments.