Have you already made plans for Memorial Day weekend? Gather your family, friends and neighbors and plan on paying respect and reflecting with gratitude this weekend.
Memorial day may be that first big picnic or barbecue gathering of the season. However, it is important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and reflect on how blessed we are to be able to gather with our loved ones on this beautiful freedom-filled Spring day.
Memorial Day originated from the Decoration Day when people honored soldiers who died in the Civil War. Later the designation of the day expanded to all men and women who died in military service. Today, many cities celebrate Memorial Day with memorial services, parades, public speeches and demonstrations. Everyone can participate in honoring the soldiers and veterans. Even the smallest of gestures can make it meaningful.
Correctly fly the flag.
The American flag can be displayed every day, but Memorial Day is one of the occasions when it is especially a good idea. According to the flag etiquette, the flag should be raised at half-staff from sunrise until noon and then on full-staff for the rest of the day. Before noon, with the flag at half-staff, we remember those who died in wars; after noon we praise the living veterans and those who continue fighting for liberty and justice for all. The flag's stars should be at the top left to the observers' view. For example:
Say thank you.
Thank a soldier or veteran personally or someone in uniform on the street. Write a creative, positive, inspiring letter or have your child draw something. A Million Thanks organization will pass it to the men and women in the military. This simple gesture has encouraged thousands of soldiers already, and you can be a part of it! Another way to say thank you is to send a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation, which will be placed at the New York City war memorials.
Visit a cemetery.
Visit one of the VA’s National Cemeteries for Memorial Day Ceremony (you can check the location of the closest one on the website of the US Department of Veterans Affairs), or go to a local cemetery and decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flags and flowers – a great way to pay respect to those who fought for us. You can also participate in the “Adopt-A-Grave” program. Volunteers take care of the graves of the fallen soldiers, keeping them debris free and decorating them with flowers. Check if the cemeteries in your town support the program and become a member.
Observe a moment of silence.
In 2000 President Bill Clinton issued a memorandum on the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance that encouraged Americans “to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all”. So take a pause at 3 p.m. and pay respect to those who fought for us.
Make a Memorial Day tradition of your own to pay respect. Take one of the suggestions above or find an organization not mentioned that assists military. Freedom is not a given, it is a gift.
On behalf of everyone at Sustained Quality Group, thank you to all that have worn a military uniform and made sacrifices for our freedom.