Memorial Day is coming up on May 30th and I want to highlight how important this date is for our country and how you can celebrate it in the most respectful way!
But what is Memorial Day? Memorial Day is when we remember those who gave their lives while serving in the military and protecting our country. It’s been a federal holiday since the late 1800s and it always falls on the last Monday of May.
Learn how to fly the American flag
There are a lot of rules you must follow when it comes to flying the American flag.
For starters, you have to make sure it’s in good condition (not stained or torn), respect the correct orientation (stars on the left), and know when to put it away (during bad weather). These are just a few key points, but there’s a lot more to it.
For more details, check out our guide on how to fly the American flag!
Visit a military cemetery
One of the most meaningful things you can do during Memorial Day is to visit a nearby military cemetery. It’s a powerful way to truly understand the weight of these sacrifices – giving one’s life even to such a noble cause is no small feat.
Take your time and consider taking the family along. It’s important to pay respects in person whenever possible!
Donate to veteran institutions and families
The families of our late military are often in need of assistance, which is why many institutions focus exclusively on offering them support.
The first thing you can do is to look for a nearby institution that appeals to you and donate, which can almost always be done online. It’s a simple gesture, but any donations go a long in helping them help others.
The Memorial Day Foundation is a good place to start. You can donate to them directly or find another similar institution that you want to support on their website.
You can also get directly in touch with a family you know that had someone in the military and offer your assistance to them. A common way to give back is to provide them with your number as an emergency contact if they need a ride – especially if they have elderly in the family.
Watch a movie
There’s a lot to learn about the military and their efforts during conflicts since that’s not something we can really understand by reading a history book.
Granted, movies and TV shows tend to romanticize or take liberties for the sake of entertainment, but there are a few that even military veterans agree are pretty close to the real thing in terms of fidelity. In fact, some are so close to home that many veterans cannot watch them because of trauma and PTSD.
These are a few suggestions that can serve to educate about the military – do keep in mind that most of these contain violent and stressful scenes that are not suitable for children:
Saving Private Ryan
Based on the real story of a small squadron that was tasked with rescuing Private James Ryan from the battlefield so that he can return home after his other three brothers had already died in the war. The brutal opening sequence is still shocking even 20 years later and sets the tone for what is a tense journey.
Band of Brothers
Widely considered one of the best portrays of World War II in media, we follow the lives of a squadron during the very end of the war. The focus is less on violent gunfights and more on the stress, drama, and brotherhood that forms between these soldiers as they fight, and later struggle to believe the war is truly over after what felt like an eternity of terror.
Flags of our Fathers
Everyone knows the emblematic Pulitzer-winning picture of the six soldiers lifting the American flag at the battle of Iwo Jima. This is the story of those men, who at the point when the picture was taken, had no idea of the impact it would have – or if the war was even won. This movie was released as a mirror to Letters From Iwo Jima, which goes through the exact same event, but from the point of view of the Japanese.
Full Metal Jacket
In one of the most grueling depictions of the Vietnam war, we follow a group of soldiers from their ruthless training to their deployment on the battlefield. Some take it better than others, but no one leaves on the other side without scars.
The incredible real story of field medic Desmond Doss, who despite extreme opposition from his fellow soldiers, refused to hold any firearms during his time serving. Yet he earned the respect of all with his bravery and unrelenting selflessness, saving 75 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single bullet.
Director Sam Mendes tells almost the entirety of this story in a single continuous shot, bringing the viewer that much closer to the tension and fear of a couple of soldiers tasked with delivering a crucial message to another battalion amidst World War I.
Watch the Memorial Day Parade
You can always look up a Memorial Day Parade near you if the plan is to attend in person, but if that’s not possible, you can still watch the parade from home while celebrating in another way.
For example, many families enjoy making a barbecue while the parade is on, making sure to decorate accordingly to celebrate. You take some time to cherish those around you while respecting the memory of those who gave their lives for the country.
MORE FROM HOMEYOU
7 Respectful Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day
How To Properly Fly The American Flag
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