Memorial Day 2018 is here, officially marking the end of another school year and the beginning of summer. However, Memorial Day is so much more than just a holiday to enjoy a break from work. Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor our valuable service men and women and thank them for their incredible contributions to our nation.
Since World War I alone, more than 645,000 men and women have given their lives in defense of the United States. Memorial Day honors these fallen heroes, as well as the hundreds of thousands of active service members. Originally deemed Decoration Day, Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, and its observance was recognized on the last Monday in May. How can you continue to honor and respect the service men and women dedicated to protecting this nation? Here are six ways to show your support this Memorial Day.
1. Wear or display a red poppy.
As Memorial Day is recognized, you might notice veterans or military family members selling and wearing paper red poppies. The red poppy tradition originally grew from the World War I poem, “In Flanders Field,” by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The poem referred to red poppies which grew over the graves of fallen soldiers. You can continue to show your support for our military by wearing or displaying a paper red poppy on this day.
2. Fly the flag.
If you’re able, flying the United States flag outside your home or workplace is an excellent way to show support on Memorial Day. Proper flag etiquette dictates the flag should be raised at half-staff from sunrise until noon, in rememberance of those who passed in battle. After noon, the flag can be raised to full-staff for the rest of the day, in recognition of our living veterans and active-duty service personnel.
3. Thank an active or veteran.
If you know an active-duty service member or veteran, Memorial Day is a special occasion to show your appreciation for their commitment to our nation. Take time to give them a call, send them a note or even a small gift. If you don’t know a military person personally, see what organizations are in your community that service them and see how you can get involved.
4. Visit a national memorial.
Many cemeteries and memorials across the United States are home to the graves of fallen soldiers. Oftentimes, they will even host special ceremonies on Memorial Day to honor the lost. Show your support this Memorial Day by visiting the graves of our nation’s fallen heroes, and honoring them through flowers, notes or flags. If you’re unsure where to start, check online for a list of national cemeteries by state.
5. Volunteer your time.
One of the best ways to show your support for our country’s military members and their families is simply through volunteering your time to help make a difference. See what organizations or research agencies are in your area that you can get involved with, such as a local VA hospital, USO center or homeless shelter. Volunteer your time to giving back and see the positive effect you can make in the life of a military member.
6. Make a financial contribution.
Ultimately, your financial contribution can also make an incredible impact for a military person and his or her family. Whether it’s giving to an organization, sending a care package overseas or supporting a family in need, you can have a genuine and positive influence this Memorial Day.
This Memorial Day, show your support for the heroes who have protected and do protect our country. Try out these six ideas today and throughout the week to make a valuable difference in a military service member’s life.