Memorial Day is usually seen as a day off from work or school, but it’s so much more than that. On Memorial Day, we mourn and honor the US military personnel who have died while serving in the US armed forces. It’s also a time for reflection and to intentionally connect with our community.
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate, check out these 7 suggestions.
Wear or make a red poppy
After WWI—and inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae—red poppies came to symbolize bloodshed during battle. In the 1920s, the American Legion began distributing poppy pins as a way to unite communities in remembering their soldiers.
Red Poppy Day is officially the Friday before Memorial Day Monday—but red poppies are often worn all weekend long. While you can buy poppy pins at the store, you can also make your own with tissue paper by following this simple step-by-step tutorial: Remembrance Tissue Paper Poppy Pin.
Write notes to veterans and active duty American soldiers
One of the easiest ways to care for service people is to write them letters. You can keep it brief, write a long letter about your community, family, or a nice story they might enjoy, or even draw pictures. Whatever you do, the soldiers and veterans will be happy to receive your notes.
Don’t believe us? Here’s some feedback we rounded up from online forums:
“Sending letters replenishes soldiers’ mental capacity.”
“We just recently went close to a month and a half with NO mail whatsoever, and when we finally did receive, people were ecstatic.”
“I wasn’t a big fan of care packages…. Letters, on the other hand, now those little envelopes of happiness make the world go ‘round. But if I may give you a tip for writing a meaningful letter, please write about your life. Don’t write about how much you miss us or how proud you are or the usual stuff. …we want to experience a bit of that normalcy again. … You had a bad day at work? Share why and then share how you feel about it and how you’re coping with it.”
Once your letters are complete, bring them to any A Million Thanks drop-off location to guarantee a safe, speedy arrival. (FYI: A Million Thanks has some helpful letter-writing tips you can follow if you’re not sure how to approach everything.) You can also sign up to be a military pen pal or to adopt a service member at Soldiers’ Angels.
Fly an American Flag
Line your neighborhood with little flags like these, fly your own Stars & Stripes on an exterior wall, or hang a bunting to show your support.
Create a Patriotic Sidewalk
Use sidewalk chalk to decorate a special walkway in your neighborhood. Check out these cool designs, and look on Pinterest for more ideas.
Share Some Treats
Going to make some Memorial Day goodies for the family? Make extra and drop them off to a military veteran, National Guard station, or American Legion in your community.
Attend a Parade
If there’s not a parade or gathering in your community, you can tune into PBS’ national concert later in the evening. The Military Channel and The History Channel run informative programming throughout the day as well.
Post a Patriotic Quote on Social Media
Here’s one we like: