By Trina Boice
For most Americans, Memorial Day is a chance to sleep in and get the day off of work or school. If you have children, it’s a terrific opportunity to teach them about our country, respect, honor, reverence, our nation’s history and principles worth dying for.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day set aside for remembrance of those who have died in our nation’s service. Memorial Day was first proclaimed on May 5, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. The South, at first, refused to acknowledge Memorial Day, honoring their dead on separate days until after WWI. It is now observed in almost every state of the union on the last Monday of every May. Since the Civil War, more than 1.1 million veterans, both women and men, have lost their lives in military service to America.
With four sons in my family, we’ve created some fun traditions over the years, resulting in two kids who have joined the Army and Air Force. For many years, we took them with their Boy Scout group to place flags on the tombstones of fallen soldiers. The boys really got a kick out of reading the tombstones and imagining what the soldiers would have looked like. The parents would go crazy with their cameras, taking incredibly patriotic photos of their own sons in uniform paying respect.
Memorial Day reminds us of our duties to the wounded soldiers and the bereaved families, orphans and widows of the dead soldiers. In addition to the fun BBQs and recreational activities of the weekend, we should take a few minutes to show our gratitude to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Here are a few ways you can honor their memory this year:
Placing flags, garlands or flowers on the grave sites of lost soldiers.
Visiting cemeteries and memorials.
Attending one of the many early morning services at Veterans’cemeteries in Las Vegas.
Furling the American Flag at half-mast until noon.
Furling the ‘POW/MIA Flag’.
Keeping silence for a minute at 3 p.m., ‘National Moment of Remembrance’ and listening to Taps being played.
Making a pledge to aid the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans of the dead and keeping it.
Offering thanks to the veterans and showing your appreciation for the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers personally, to the bereaved families.
For some free material to help you remember our brave soldiers, check out the following web sites:
Free Memorial Day quotes, poems, songs, tributes, reflections, presidential declarations and facts: http://www.thememorialdaytribute.com/observe-memorial-day.html
Free Memorial Day essays, speeches, and prayers: http://www.usmemorialday.org/write.html
Free Memorial Day clip art images: http://www.designedtoat.com/memorial_day.shtml
Free Memorial Day ecards:www.memorialsday.com www.123greetings.com www.bluemountain.com
Free Memorial Day coloring pages: http://hubpages.com/hub/FREE-Coloring-Pages—American-Memorial-Day—Colouring-Sheets-Free-Downloads
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! And a sincere thank you to all of the veterans who have so valiantly served our country. You will never be forgotten.