Memorial Day, a US federal holiday observed every year on the last Monday of May, remembers those who died while serving our country's armed forces. It originated as Decoration Day after the Civil War as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. That tradition was eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service and it continues today.
There are many simple ways to honor Memorial Day with your children; here are a few:
1. Organize a neighborhood parade. Get the kids to decorate their bikes and trikes or use red, white and blue decorations to adorn wagons and strollers to parade around your neighborhood with others. End with a refreshing ice cream treat and enjoy the time with your neighbors.
2. Pause for a moment of silence at 3:00 pm in memory of our fallen heroes.
3. Fly the American flag. On Memorial Day, the flag should first be raised to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to half-staff, until noon when it should be raised to the top of the staff for the rest of the day.
4. Visit a historical site or cemetery. Tour a historic battlefield or a soldiers' memorial for a personal look at the sacrifices made by our servicemen. Decorate the graves of soldiers with flags or flowers.
5. Attend a local event in honor of Memorial Day. Be it a parade, fireworks or another public gathering, join those in your community to mark this special day.
6. Talk to a veteran. Take the kids to hear the story of a serviceman or servicewoman and encourage them to ask questions to better understand the sacrifices military members make. Bring cookies or flowers or a handmade note as a sign of thanks.
7. Make a patriotic craft or recipe.
Honoring Memorial Day can be as simple as taking some time out of the day to remember the true meaning of this important day and showing respect to those who have given their lives in service to the country, as well as by teaching your children about our county's rich history, the importance of freedom, and the sacrifices that have been made to make the USA what it is today.