Whether or not you have a friend or relative who is serving in the military, Memorial Day is a somber holiday honoring those who put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day in America. Here are 10 thoughtful ways to pay tribute on this occasion, many of them suggested by USMemorialDay.org.
Attend an event
Check out local Memorial Day events in your area. From festive parades to 5K races, this holiday spurs many region-specific celebrations in which you can participate.
This date is a great occasion to raise funds for a military-focused nonprofit organization of your choice. Wingman Foundation, Air Force Aid Society and Children of Fallen Patriots are just a few of the worthy groups you can contribute to in honor of Memorial Day. For additional charities to support, check out this extensive list.
Gather your coworkers and organize a potluck to take place the week before Memorial Day. Encourage people to bring in grilled hot dogs and hamburgers as well as many of the trimmings and sides.
Write a letter
Show your appreciation for those currently serving in the military, as well as retired veterans, by writing a letter and sending it via an organization such as Operation Gratitude. This site even has helpful tips for crafting your letter, depending on whether you’re addressing it to a new recruit, a first responder, a deployed troop or a veteran.
Research what veteran cemeteries are in your vicinity, then plan a trip to visit one of them. Bring flowers and/or U.S. flags to place on some of the graves as an additional expression of honor.
Send a care package
This is a great idea for workplace teams as well as families. Visit the Support Our Troops® website for recommendations of which items to include in your package, as well as which products to avoid sending.
Random act of kindness
Former and current service members often sport their military attire on Memorial Day. If you find yourself in line with a service member at a restaurant or coffee shop, offer to pay for their order as a small “thank you” for their commitment to our country.
The week before Memorial Day, consider decorating your cubicle with patriotic décor. This could be in the form of small U.S. flags, a red checkered tablecloth or a banner of red and blue paper stars at your desk, as depicted on Homedit.com.
Visit a local memorial
What better way to honor the day than by heading to a memorial in your area? If you’re not sure which sites are near your place of residence, Military.com has done the work for you. Simply browse the website and select your state to view memorials close by.
One minute of silence
Each Memorial Day at 3 p.m., U.S. residents across the nation pause for 60 seconds to remember and ponder the sacrifices of the military, both in the past and in the present. Even if you have to work through the holiday, take just a moment out of your day to participate in this brief observation that President Clinton initiated back in 2000.
While backyard barbecues are a common sight on Memorial Day, consider supplementing your celebration this year by incorporating any of these 10 ideas into your family’s festivities.