10 Ideas for a Meaningful Memorial Day

As one of the bookends of summer, Memorial Day is often a day of barbecues, parties, and lots of fun. It can be easy to get lost in all the activities and miss out on the opportunity to honor military heroes and loved ones who have passed away. If you're looking for a way to enjoy the day with more meaning attached (especially for the kids), I've collected 10 ideas to share. 1. Graveside service. If visiting the graves of loved ones is part of your tradition, invite friends or family to join you in a casual graveside service. Share memories and favorite stories about your loved ones. Help the kids decorate the graves with flowers, pinwheels, or other colorful remembrances. 2. Balloon Launch. Fill helium balloons and attach the name of a loved one who has passed away. Meet with friends and family in a park or open space and release the balloons together as a remembrance. 3. Ancestor Dinner. Create a menu made up of favorite recipes from your ancestors. Take a trip back in time as you enjoy learning and teaching your family about past generations. If possible, display old photos or journals. 4. Who's Who Game. Memorial Day is a popular day for family reunions. If you're attending one, do some homework and create a Who's Who matching game about your deceased relatives. Everyone will learn a lot while having a great time. 5. Coordinate a service project. One of the best ways to honor fallen military heroes is through service. Contact organizations like Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund to see how you can help. 6. Write a letter to a soldier. You can show gratitude for those who have died in service by lifting up those who are serving now. Contact Letters to Soldiers and write a letter, make a card, or create a banner and have it delivered to a deployed soldier. 7. Attend a parade. Grab your chairs or a blanket to sit on and attend a Memorial Day parade. Most parades will pay tribute to military heroes, so it's a good opportunity to show support and teach the kids in a fun setting. 8. Display a flag. Prominently display a flag in your home or yard on Memorial Day. Teach kids the proper way to carry, fold, and store the flag. 9. Refresh the mourners. Take freshly baked cookies and cold lemonade to a local cemetery. Set up a table and offer free refreshments to those who have come to pay their respects. You're bound to meet some nice people. 10. Visit the VA hospital. Most VA hospitals will have activities going on. Call and see how you can help and what their visitation policy is, especially if you plan to take kids. Take the opportunity to thank a soldier for their service. Have your own ideas? Share them in the comments section! {Image via Google.}
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