Memorial Day is more than a holiday but an opportunity to honor our service men and women and thank them for their incredible contributions to our nation. Originally deemed Decoration Day, Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, and its observance was recognized on the last Monday in May. How can you continue to honor and respect those who have/are protecting this nation? Let us count the ways to show your support this Memorial Day.
1. Wear or display a red poppy.
The red poppy tradition originally grew from the World War I poem, “In Flanders Field,” by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The poem referred to red poppies which grew over the graves of fallen soldiers. You can continue to show your support for our military by wearing or displaying a paper red poppy on this day.
2. Fly the flag or wear some swag.
If you’re able, flying the United States flag is an excellent way to show support on Memorial Day. Proper flag etiquette dictates the flag should be raised at half-staff from sunrise until noon, in remembrance of those who passed in battle. In the afternoon, the flag can be raised to full-staff for the rest of the day, in recognition of our living veterans and active-duty service personnel. Another alternative is to wear a poppy or swag (aka merchandise) that supports veterans and/or the military.
3. Give thanks
If you know an active-duty service member or veteran, Memorial Day is a special occasion to show your appreciation for their commitment to our nation. Take time to give them a call, send them a note or even a small gift. If you don’t know a military person personally, see what organizations are in your community that services them and see how you can get involved.
4. Visit a national memorial.
Many cemeteries and memorials across the United States are home to the graves of fallen soldiers. Oftentimes, they will even host special ceremonies on Memorial Day to honor the lost. Show your support this Memorial Day by visiting the graves of our nation’s fallen heroes, and honoring them through flowers, notes or flags. If you’re unsure where to start, check online for a list of national cemeteries by state.
5. Volunteer your time.
One of the best ways to show your support for our country’s military members and their families is simply through volunteering your time to help make a difference. See what organizations or research agencies are in your area that you can get involved with, such as a local VA hospital, USO center or homeless shelter. Volunteer your time to give back and see the positive effect you can make in the life of a military member.
6. Make a financial contribution.
Your financial contribution can make an impact on a military person and his or her family. Whether it’s giving to an organization, sending a care package overseas or supporting a family in need, you can have a genuine and positive influence this Memorial Day.
This Memorial Day, show your support for the heroes protecting our country. Try out these ideas throughout the week to make a valuable difference in a military service member’s life.