Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May. Here are some ways you can observe this federal holiday honoring those who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces:
- Fly your flag at half-mast from sunrise until noon only, then raise it briskly to the top of the flagstaff until sunset. This also may be a good time to check the condition of your flag. If the flag needs to be replaced, don’t throw it away. Take it to your local American Legion post for proper disposal.
- Remove “Happy Memorial Day!” from your vocabulary. Using that expression is something like saying, “Happy lots of people died day.” It could easily offend a military widow or a Gold Star family, immediate relatives of a U.S. armed services member killed in the line of duty.
- Gather friends and family in your space and across the nation to go silent for one minute at 12:01 PM EDT to observe the laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Talk to your kids about Memorial Day. Read a book together to educate them about this topic. Have them color a picture and send it to a veteran. Download free coloring pages here. Participate in an online scavenger hunt about Memorial Day. Discuss the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor. Visit a nearby Veterans Hospital.
- While you celebrate freedom with your family and friends this Memorial Day weekend, incorporate the true meaning of this holiday into your celebration. Ask a veteran friend or family member what Memorial Day means to them. Collect money for an organization that supports the military community. If you know a Gold Star family, create a plan to support them in practical ways.
- While it is important to remember military personnel lost to war, it also is a time to celebrate their lives and their memory. Encourage veterans and widows to share stories that will honor their fallen family members and friends.
Stonecroft National Military Consultant