Today is Memorial Day. Please, take a moment to say that, out loud. Memorial Day. Not Barbeque Day, not Picnic Fest and not Sales Extravaganza. Today is the national day dedicated to remembering those that died defending the United States of America.
Behind each of those lives, tragically lost, is a family, a community, a congregation and a future that moves on with a gaping hole. Take some time to feel that loss. Use that day off from work and school to learn about our fallen soldiers.
Read a story – There are numerous books available detailing stories of American history, helping a child to understand the situation of a war in first person fashion. Coming to mind is the Dear America series, each book profiling, diary style, a child’s life through a different period of American history.
Hear a story – Many community centers and public libraries host veterans and families of fallen soldiers for a talk, geared toward children, to feel the meaning of the day. Check your local schedules. If you have a relative who might have a story to share, make a date ahead of time to work out a meeting today.
Visit a grave – Phone your Veterans’ Association to see where you might be able to find local fallen-soldiers graves that aren’t often visited. A good activity for children old enough to behave appropriately in a cemetery would be to bring flowers, either homemade or purchased, to place on graves.
Volunteer – This might be a perfect day to have a family meeting, explaining Memorial Day, and work out a plan to volunteer periodically to help those brave men and women who have fought and returned, perhaps forever changed and challenged, due to their service. If you’d like to help but don’t know where to start, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation can point you to some local opportunities.
Appreciate – Appreciation to the fallen, to veterans and to their families is a valuable lesson for us all. Appreciation to all those that have enriched our lives is an important sentiment to weave into our thoughts always. If perhaps, you have been lax in this area, give all your loved ones a big hug and resolve to acknowledge the gratitude due to others in your life, every day.