5 Best Ways To Observe Memorial Day

May 13, 2015 9:00 AM

Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of summer, and it’s often a time of backyard barbecues and get-togethers with family and friends. But with all the fun and parties, it’s important to stop and remember the reason for the holiday: To honor those who have served and died fighting so heroically for our country. There are a number of ways to observe and respect the holiday, starting with the National Moment of Remembrance. On Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time, Congress asks everyone to pause what they’re doing for a full minute in a moment of unity. In addition to that moving moment of solidarity, here are five other ways to honor and observe the holiday.

Show Your Patriotic Pride

American flag (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

American flag (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

For starters, display your pride in the country in a number of ways, including flying a flag from the front of your house. Don’t have a flag? Then now is a great time to make a flag with your kids, which also creates a wonderful moment to talk to your kids about the real reason for the holiday (more on that in a minute). Other ways to show your patriotic pride include dressing up before you head to the parade. This can be everything from your t-shirt, to hair bows, pins, and much more!

Visit a National Cemetery

National Cemetary (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

National Cemetary (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

National cemeteries aren’t only located in Washington, D.C. In fact, more than 100 are located throughout the country, and while they’re closed on most national holidays, they’re open for people to pay their respects on Memorial Day. Many national cemeteries even offer ceremonies as well as musical performances, parades, and speeches.

Make a Donation

Donation (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

Donation (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

Another way to honor those who have served their country is to lend a helping hand, and this can be in the form of volunteering or donating. Multiple charities and organizations exist that support everyone from veterans to the children of fallen soldiers. A full list of military-related charities can be found here.

Teach Your Kids about History

Teaching (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

Teaching (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

Kids often see Memorial Day weekend as the start of summer with the swimming pool finally open. Teaching them about why they have the day off school can start with a simple conversation, but you can continue teaching them by doing some educational and fun activities with them. This can include anything from a TV program on the History Channel to doing crafts and Memorial Day-themed coloring books. Other activities can include baking cookies and bringing them to a local veteran’s hospital to brighten up a veteran’s day.

Plan a Family Reunion or Barbecue

Barbeque (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

Barbeque (Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

One of the most popular ways to celebrate the holiday is with a get-together or barbecue. But even with the festivities, don’t forget the reason for why you’re getting together. Enjoy your time with family and friends, but take that moment at 3 pm for the National Moment of Remembrance, and use the time together to share your stories of family and friends who have served. Of course, enjoying an American-themed dessert is encouraged too!

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.

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