Memorial Day is coming up soon. If you’d like to honor the holiday respectfully and provide teachable moments for your children along the way, let’s briefly cover the purpose of the holiday, observation methods, and tips for how to support those most affected by it.
The Significance of Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a federally-recognized national holiday that honors military servicemen and servicewomen who have died in battle or as a result of injuries sustained in their country’s service. It is a single day out of the year that Americans dedicate to appreciating the memory and supporting the loved ones of individuals who have given more than we can ever repay.
How To Observe Memorial Day
Unfortunately, the observation of Memorial Day is often “celebrated” as an entire weekend of sales events and parties that have very little to do with genuine intentions.
If you’d like to teach your children about Memorial Day, as well as how to observe the holiday with respect, you might want to try the following:
- Explaining the basics of Memorial Day and why it’s observed. Try to keep the explanation simple for younger children, though they will likely understand the idea of giving thanks to those whose lives were lost during military service.
- Attend a Memorial Day service with your family, and if possible, provide emotional support to a member of your community who has lost a loved one in the military.
- If you have a US flag on your home or in your yard, fly it at half-mast until noon. Explain to your children why this is done.
- Take part in the National Moment of Remembrance, where at 3:00 PM, you and your family have a moment of silence to reflect upon the meaning of the day.
- Visit a memorial site and place flowers on the marker of a soldier who is/was significant to your family (or any soldier).
- Donate your time or a monetary amount to the betterment of the lives that US military veterans and their families experience.
Many families want to donate to a charity that will benefit veterans and their families, but it can be difficult to determine which causes will best benefit those who need help.
A good rule of thumb is donating to a nonprofit organization, for example, any one of these charity organizations suggested by the US Military.
Unlike many other holidays, Memorial Day is not necessarily intended to be a “fun” holiday. However, teaching your children about it and participating in honorable activities can make the day a pleasant and rewarding one.