What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, which honors our U.S. military men and women who died while serving our nation and protecting our freedom.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan on May 5, 1868 and was observed on May 30 when flowers were placed on the graves of both Civil War Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1968, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends and to celebrate our nation’s freedom. However, it’s a lot more than a day off from school or work, it is one of the most significant holidays we have, a day of remembrance, especially if you or a family member has served our country.

Our U.S. Armed Forces go where they are sent and deserve our full support.  Memorial Day is a time to remember all those Americans who have fought in the past to keep our country safe and free. It is a day to honor and respect those who have died.

Children observe and retain far more than they are given credit for and they need to know the true meaning of this day. So, this year, while surrounded by family and friends, take a moment to teach the meaning of Memorial Day. Let children know what this holiday means to you and why it means so much to our nation’s history, and our military families. Talk and reflect on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Spend time teaching children about patriotism and why we celebrate our nation’s freedom.  Memorial Day activities can have a long lasting impact and give young children a greater appreciation for our country. Building a sense of pride with patriotism is important!

No matter your political views, military heroes deserve our respect. There are many ways to teach children to honor our nation’s defenders.  Children know that people die and explaining that some die while bravely protecting others gives meaning.  You’ll find that children will be interested in learning about history and how important it is to recognize our heroes; to remember them with honor and respect the ultimate sacrifice they have given to protect America and our freedom.

In the morning, fly our flag proudly at half-mast, a position reserved only for days when the entire country is in mourning, and raise it high at noon to honor the living. Then gather at 3:00 PM to silently observe our National Moment of Remembrance.  When informed, kids will understand the importance of keeping quiet for this minute.

Memorial Day is about remembering those who have given their service and their lives for our country, but there are soldiers in the field right now. Thousands of American men and women soldiers are serving in danger zones overseas. Many are lonely, afraid, they miss home and the comforts of little things like magazines, snacks, personal hygiene products, paper and pens, and cheery letters and pictures. There is no better lesson in American citizenship than having a child write a letter to a deserving soldier. Think of ways to contribute to today’s veterans. Go to http://www.anysoldier.com/index.cfm and https://www.dav.org/ to see how you can help.

Don’t allow children to think that Memorial Day is just another day off school or just another holiday. Teach children the history and importance of Memorial Day and remember our past American heroes together.  What you teach them today will make a difference tomorrow.

Written by LuAnn Jalet


JNR Incorporated is a globally recognized leader specializing in creating custom programs that motivate, engage and reward the employees, customers and channel members of our Fortune 1000 clients. For over 35 years, JNR has designed and delivered a comprehensive suite of solutions including incentive travel, prepaid reward and gift cards, meetings and conferences, events and entertainment, technology solutions and marketing communications.  Our programs produce measurable results and are proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo by: “American Flag” by Peter Miller is licensed under CC by 2.0

JNR Spotlight: Veteran’s Day

I would not describe myself as someone that comes from a “military family.” My grandfathers on both my maternal and paternal side served in WWII and the Korean War but that is to be expected with that generation of men. I did not have parents in the military and I really was not in contact with anyone that was deployed overseas growing up.

A few months ago a family member started really digging in to our ancestry and in celebration of Veteran’s Day began posting family members and their service records on social media. At first it was what I expected, a great, great uncle, some cousins three times removed, great grandparents etc. But as the commemorative day of Veteran’s Day neared, the relatives being honored were not so distant. In fact, several people popped up that I actually see quite often and somehow forgot that they had dedicated years of their lives to our Armed Services. Several of my uncles are decorated Officers. A beloved aunt served in the US Women’s Army Corp- the branch of the Army arguably instrumental in opening the door to females serving alongside their male counterparts. My brother for goodness sake served in the Navy while I was out of the country studying at university! The list continued to grow longer and longer and I began to second guess my direct disconnection to Veterans.

Why does it take a bank holiday to remind us that so many people in our lives have devoted their time serving our country? We should celebrate these individuals all year long and not because it sounds good, but let’s really give them the reverie they deserve. Let’s not dismiss the fact that family members endured intense training in Basic or were placed on the front lines to protect our freedoms just because they are now living a civilian life. Undoubtedly these years are times that they will never forget, we certainly should not either.

This Veteran’s Day I will take a moment to celebrate and honor all Veterans that so bravely trained, fought, left their families, suffered unbearable losses and celebrated victories with brothers and sisters, not through blood, but through a bond that most of us will never truly understand. Let’s honor our Veterans not just today but on all days. Let’s not disrespect the time they committed selflessly to our country just because they do not talk about it.   Pay attention to those around you and the honor the sacrifices they have made that benefit our lifestyle everyday. Look around your workplace; notice those that frequent your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant. Talk to your children about what it means to be a Veteran and introduce them to all of the people around you that have been a part of our Armed Services. We are all from a “military family.” Our country is a “military family” and I ask that we all stop taking that for granted.


Connect with one of these organizations and see how you can help, not just today but throughout the year.

American Legion
Department of Veteran’s Affairs
Veterans of Foreign Wars

  1. Say “Thank You”.
  2. Visit a wounded Veteran at the hospital.
  3. Offer your skills to a Veteran or military family.
  4. Volunteer your financial, legal or career expertise via MilServe
  5. Deliver a meal or care package to Veterans or homes with family members deployed overseas.
  6. Help a Veteran family member tell their story through a project such as the Veteran’s History
    You can download a VHP field kit from the Library of Congress website.
  7. Volunteer with an organization such as K9s For Warriors or Canine Companions for Independence, that provides therapy dogs to Veterans with PTSD.
  8. Offer a Vet a ride by volunteering with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, which provides free transportation to men and women unable to travel to VA medical facilities on their own.
  9. Visit serve.gov and use keyword “Veterans” to find more opportunities to serve our nation’s Veterans.
  10. Check these sites for many other simple ways to help our Veterans and show them you care and are thankful for their service.



By JNR Incorporated

Written by Barbara Williamson


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.