Most people are given the day off to observe Memorial Day but do they all really know what it means? Here is a quick description of Memorial Day and 5 ways to observe Memorial Day.
For thousands of years, the practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle has existed, it wasn’t until 1868 that General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veteran’s group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30th should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the then recently ended Civil War. He said that Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead.
Although American’s embraced the idea of “Decoration Day” immediately it did not become a nationally recognized federal holiday until 1971 when it was dubbed “Memorial Day”. During this same time the Vietnam War was going on.
Ways to Observe Memorial Day
Thank a Veteran.
This simple act shows respect and honor to our veterans. Officially memorial Day is a time to remember and honor our fallen soldiers but it’s also a great time to thank our veterans who are still with us. Remember that after the Vietnam war veterans were not treated very well for some time. Lets make sure that never happens again. Another thought is to mail letters or sending care packages to our soldiers who are currently deployed. Learn more about this at OperationGratitude.com.
Decorate with Flags.
Hang old glory on the flag pole and let everyone know you support our troops and are remembering the fallen as well as our veterans. If you are having a cookout, decorate the area with red, while and blue. You could even buy a bunch of smaller flags and place one by the mailbox at all the houses in your neighborhood making your neighborhood look very supportive and festive. If you want to join in the true tradition, fly your flag a half mast until noon time to honor those who have fallen.
Buy a Poppy.
During the days leading up to Memorial Day, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies. The poppy’s significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem “In Flanders Fields.” Disabled and needy veterans in VA hospitals have been assembling Buddy Poppies since 1924. Purchase one, and your donation assists in maintaining state and national rehabilitation and service programs for veterans.
Attend a Parade.
Many towns have parades on Memorial Day. Take a little time out from your day off and go participate in your town’s Memorial Day events. There will be plenty of veterans there that you can thank too.
Huntersville is apparently doing a ceremony, here’s more information.
Mooresville is doing the field of flags, here’s more information.
Cornelius is doing a Memorial Day Program, click here for more information.
Make Patriotic Crafts to Deliver:
If you have kids, help them make some patriotic crafts like these. You can even help the kids take them over to the local veterans hospital, a veteran you know or your local retirement home to share them with some veterans. What a great way to brighten a veteran’s day!