Memorial Day Activities
If you are looking for a way of memorializing those whose lives have been lost serving their country, here are some Memorial Day activities. People often mistake Memorial Day as a party holiday, but its origins and meaning are rather somber. It is, after all, a day to memorialize those who have lost their lives in military service. This fact is often lost with bbq parties, beach parties and the three-day weekend. Keep in mind the true spirit of the holiday with these activities.
Have a viewing gathering of the National Memorial Day Concert. If you are near Washington, D.C., you may want to go see it in person. Since it's aired nationally on PBS stations each and every year, you can schedule your gathering around it. Serve refreshments with a red, white and blue theme in honor of the country and those who have served it. It's a beautiful and respectfulful concert that pays tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives for the United States of America.
Go to an old Civil War cemetery. Bring flowers and some gear to clean old graves from weeds and things that may be covering up long-lost memorials. Taking your family or friends to an old war cemetery can help really bring the events of the past into present-day understanding. Seeing the actual memorials of the people who once loved and kept company with these men can be deeply touching. Don't bring young kids, for fear of scaring them. Older kids and adults can get a lot from this activity, though. Since Memorial Day (first called Decoration Day) began to honor Union soldiers of the Civil War, you'll be appropriately paying homage on this day of remembrance.
- Have a letter writing party or package assembling party for those who are current serving their country. Of course, this is the opposite of the origin of Memorial Day, but you can honor and bring joy to the living soldiers in respect to those who have served as these men and women have served. It's one of the more joyful ways to celebrate the holiday and keep its spirit of respect to those who are serving or have served in mind. This is an especially great idea for kids.
Make a list of all the things that you love about this country on Memorial Day; make a list of all the things that you want to see improved on this country. Start work on one of the things that you want to improve, while giving thanks for the things you love about the country that many soldiers in the past have died to protect. In their honor, strengthen this country by working to improve what you feel is wrong with it. This can also be a great group project for youth groups, churches and non-profit organizations.
- Have a day of visitation for elderly vets on Memorial Day. There are many men living in nursing homes that once proudly served this country. Visit them on Memorial Day and thank them for their service. Bring presents and treats that they can eat. It's a great way to teach kids about the day as well, and it's an activity that you can do to give back to those who have given to their (and your) country.