People have always grieved and mourned their lost protectors and soldiers. Over the centuries there have been many different traditions both nationally and in families in honoring those lost while protecting civilians during conflict. In the United States we honor our fallen soldiers and military personnel on Memorial Day.
Originally known as Decoration Day, with a name change to Memorial Day in the 1880’s, this holiday started as a way for veterans to honor their fallen comrades in arm. Soldiers would decorate grave stones of their fallen friends with flowers, flags, and wreaths. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federally recognized holiday.
Of course, celebrating our freedom and enjoying the holiday is a good thing. It is important to balance that enjoyment with the recognition of the losses that have happened to retain our national security.
So how then can we move beyond the informal start of a summer picnic to an honest reflection upon and observance of remembrance for those who have died that we may live? Here are some ideas to help you and your family include a time of honoring the men and women who have died protecting the United States within your holiday celebrations.
- Attend a memorial service in your community.
- Participate in projects serving families of veterans who have died.
- Help a veteran with PTSD get a dog to aid in his/her recovery. You can donate items, funds, or do fundraising on their behalf.
- Create a collage with your children with flags, wreaths, and flowers and put names of soldiers who have given their lives.
- Write to military personnel currently serving so they know they are not forgotten.
Finally, if you have lost someone serving in the armed forces, we are so sorry for your loss. Without those who serve, we would not have the hard won freedoms we have in the United States. May we never forget the cost of our freedom.