On May 30th, we will be marking a federal holiday established to remember American soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Known as Memorial Day, this holiday also acts as the official start of summer. It’s a very special day that we usually spend with family and friends, while the kids celebrate the end of another school year. This year, if you aren’t sure how you are going to mark Memorial Day, the following are a few ideas to help:
Remembering fallen soldiers and loved ones: Although any day of the year is a good one for visiting the graves of veterans and family members, this holiday is the most appropriate day to do it. Bring flags for the graves of fallen soldiers, and flowers for loved ones. This is also a good day to visit local memorials for every war, but especially the Civil War because that terrible conflict resulted in the creation of Memorial Day.
First known as Decoration Day, this holiday was established in 1868 to remember the hundreds of thousands of men who died during the many battles of that war. Eventually, the name was changed to Memorial Day, and the date for the holiday was changed to the last Monday in May so the holiday can always be celebrated as a three-day weekend. Folks in Washington D.C. might also want to visit the Vietnam War Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, and other war memorials to contemplate the sacrifices that were made by so many young men and women.
Setting up a memorial bench: A memorial bench is a beautiful way to remember a loved one, especially if that special person loved to spend time in the garden. Put the bench in the loved one’s favorite corner of the backyard, near a peaceful garden fountain or pond, or under a lofty tree. Cast stone benches work best, one example being the endearing In Our Hearts Forever Personalized Cast Stone Memorial Garden Bench. Memorial Day is the perfect date to install the bench although it will work as a lovely means of remembering dear ones that have passed on any day of the year. Leave a favorite flower cutting on it, a fitting passage from a book, or other suitable item on the date of the person’s passing.
Watch one or more parades: This three-day weekend is a big one for parades. They might take place during the weekend although most municipalities hold their parade on Memorial Day Monday. Check the paper to see where the parade will be held and pick a good spot to watch it. Bring the kids, and don’t forget to bring hats and sunscreen, an umbrella for sun and rain, and a small cooler with a few cold drinks. Take pictures, enjoy the floats, and remember why the parade is being held. if you have time, you can even plan a visit to a large city for a bigger Memorial Day parade.
A picnic, camping, or other outdoor fun with the family: This holiday is meant to be spent with family and many of us do that with a picnic (sometimes after visiting the family plot in the cemetery). However, we can also mark the holiday with a family weekend trip to a state park, national park, or any number of fun places of interest. Niagara Falls, Pigeon Ford, Point Reyes, and Mount Rushmore are a few fun options. Most campgrounds will also be open and an extended family camping trip is another fun idea for marking this holiday and kicking off the start of the summer season.
Wishing everyone a good Memorial Day in 2016!