We all look forward to Memorial Day weekend for epic sales, backyard barbeques, pool parties, beach days, outdoor picnics, and more. We have grown accustomed to knowing Memorial Day as the official start of summer but let’s not forget this holiday is more than warmer temperatures. It’s a time to remember and honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Set a plan to fill this day off from school and work with a range of activities that helps you and your family to pause, reflect and donate. Not only is it an opportunity to teach our kids the significance of Memorial Day, but it’s also a way for us (adults) to step back, count our blessings, brush up on American history and have fun with family and friends along the way.
Be sure to take the time out of your long weekend to try a few or all these Memorial Day activities this year and send good vibes to those who continue to fight for our freedom.
- 1 – SHOP VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESSES
Whether you plan to eat out or shop, consider visiting businesses owned and operated by veterans or military families. It is a great way to say thank you for your service.
- 2 – CREATE A SIDEWALK MURAL
Gather kids and adults in your neighborhood and create a patriotic inspired art. Use red, white, and blue chalk to create a flag. Add sayings like, “bless our troops” and “Thank you, veterans” to your creations, and take a picture to post and share it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
- 3 – TAKE A VIRTUAL WHITE HOUSE TOUR
Did you know you can take a virtual tour of the White House from the comfort of your living room? Head to Google Arts & Culture and see inside the iconic landmark and learn facts about its architecture and important events that took place without ever leaving your home.
- 4 – SHARE IN A MOMENT OF SILENCE
The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress in 2000, is a minute-long pause meant to raise national awareness and reverence. It takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. No matter where you live, take a moment of silence for at least a minute, send your thanks, love, and prayers to active soldiers, veterans, and men and women who died serving our country.
- 5 – ATTEND A MEMORIAL DAY PARADE
Almost all towns and cities mark this day with an annual parade. Get the full-fledged holiday experience by cheering on your town’s marching band, veterans, and local organizations at the nearest parade.
- 6 – MAKE A PATRIOTIC DESSERT
Show off your American pride with some red, white, and blue Memorial Day desserts. Whatever treat you decide to make, double it and drop some off at the home of a veteran to share!
- 7 – VOLUNTEER
Pick an organization that is veteran-focused and lend a hand by helping build homes, looking over resumes, or visiting a local VA hospital.
- 8 – DONATE
Even if your weekend is full of family fun, you can still pay your respect to fallen troops with a donation to Memorial Day Flowers, a national foundation that places a flower on the graves of soldiers.
- 9 – DIY / CRAFT A RED POPPY
Red poppies are worn as a symbol of remembrance. You can make your own with tissue paper by following this simple step-by-step tutorial.
- 10 – WATCH A MOVIE
Wrap up your long weekend by watching a documentary or a movie to appreciate the sacrifices that military personnel make and the dangers they face. Here is a list of Memorial Day movies to watch.
FUN FACT: Memorial Day became a three-day weekend for federal employees in 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. That’s also when it was decided that Memorial Day should always be on that last Monday in May. Previously, it was celebrated on May 30, regardless of what day it fell on.