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