It’s almost Memorial Day. Held annually on the last Monday in the month of May, Memorial Day is a federal holiday that focuses on honoring U.S. veterans who died during service. While many Americans simply use this holiday as an opportunity to grill and relax, it’s important to remember the purpose of Memorial Day. Millions of veterans made the ultimate sacrifice during their service to protect our freedom and way of life. By celebrating Memorial Day, you can honor them and show your appreciation.
#1) Attend a Memorial Day Parade
Whether you live in on the East Coast, the West Coast or somewhere in the Central United States, there’s probably a parade taking place in your area on Memorial Day. Check your local newspaper — or the website of a local news affiliate — to see when and where a Memorial Day parade is taking place in your area.
#2) Lay Flowers on Veterans’ Graves
Another way to celebrate Memorial Day is to visit a local cemetery and lay flowers on veterans’ graves. It’s a little-known fact that Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because Americans would decorate the graves of fallen veterans on this day. While the name of this holiday has since been changed to Memorial Day, you can still decorate the graves of veterans on this special day.
#3) Tell a Veteran ‘Thanks’
Of course, something as simple as telling a veteran “thanks for your service” on Memorial Day allows you to show your appreciation to our nation’s military veterans. Maybe your neighbor is a veteran, or perhaps a coworker is a veteran. Regardless, if you know a veteran, tell him or her “thanks” on Memorial Day.
#4) Display an American Flag
If you own an American flag, consider displaying it in front of your home or business on Memorial Day. The U.S. Flag Code specifically mentions Memorial Day as a national flag day. In other words, the U.S. flag code encourages people and businesses to display the American on the last Monday in May.
#5) Donate to a Veterans Organization
There are over a dozen reputable veterans organizations to which you can donate money, some of which include the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America and Paralyzed Veterans of America. If you have some spare cash, consider donating to one of these organizations on Memorial Day. The organization will use your donation to fulfill its mission, which typically involves supporting and helping our nation’s military veterans.