Memorial Day is right around the corner, but with the coronavirus pandemic impacting all of our lives, celebrations and remembrances are likely to look at least a little different this year. In a time of social distancing and all the necessary precautions being taken to protect ourselves and each other, perhaps it is a good time to take a closer look at the true meaning and intent of Memorial Day and celebrate the heroes behind it.
Memorial Day began after the Civil War as Decoration Day, a time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. It was officially renamed Memorial Day in 1967, and in 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to take place on the last Monday of May.
While many of us typically celebrate Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, with picnics, parades, and more, the significance of the day is much more somber. It is a day to recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and freedoms. As many of the parades and other commemorations nationwide have been canceled – including the National Memorial Day Parade – we should consider other ways to honor those who have died so that we may live freely.
The Memorial Day Foundation suggests visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, flying a U.S. flag at half-staff until noon, and participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
In addition, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will host an online commemoration from 1-2 p.m. this Memorial Day. While parents.com has some great suggestions on how to celebrate Memorial Day with your kids, unfortunately not all of them are possible this year. However, many of them still are, including explaining to your kids what Memorial Day is really about, reading kids’ books about the holiday together, teaching kids how to fly the flag, sending a care package to soldiers, and participating in the Moment of Remembrance. Military.com also has some great suggestions for things to do with your family this Memorial Day.
Regardless of how you choose to commemorate Memorial Day this year, be sure to stay safe as we honor those who put their lives in danger and sacrificed for us and our freedoms.