What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday that is celebrated on the last Monday of May. On this day we honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military. So besides cooking and taking a vacation to the beach, what can we do to teach our kids the true meaning of this holiday?
We are a military family. I am proud to say my husband is a captain in the U.S. Army. To be honest, Memorial Day before kids was just the start of summer, a reason to have a cookout and enjoy time with our friends and family. I knew what Memorial Day was but I never actually did anything meaningful for the holiday. Now that I have children, I find that it is important to educate them and myself on the true meaning of the holiday. Below are a couple of things we found were fun and educational and could be done during quarantine!
1. Read age-appropriate books to explain to them what Memorial Day means
- What Does It Mean to Be American? by Rana Diorio
- Memorial Day (Holidays in Rhythm and Rhyme) by Emma Carlson Berne
- The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
2. Visit memorials (virtually) or veteran cemeteries
- The National D-Day Memorial is offering a virtual tour
- The South Florida National Cemetery is also open. There you can take flowers to remember a fallen hero. It is open from sunrise to sunset and is run by the VA.
3. Write letters to veterans or soldiers overseas
- Writing a letter to say thanks to a Veteran or an active service member is such an easy way to show gratitude. Nonprofit organizations like Operation Gratitude are available to give you information on how to reach a soldier. They also help with making donations, gift boxes, and postcards.
4. Making an American flag and learning about the meaning of the flag
- There are a lot of online sites that offer free printouts of flags. You can also make some out of construction paper and glue sticks! Simple but fun!
Updated May 2023