Remembering the fallen, as a family.
As a kid, the combination of decorating the house, throwing a barbecue, and having the day off from school can seem celebratory. To adults, Memorial Day is often treated like Labor Day or Presidents’ Day – a bank holiday and day without the regular commute to the office. Maybe even the unofficial start of summer . . . .
But to those who have served and lost friends and colleagues, or to families who have lost soldiers in service to our country, Memorial Day is a solemn time to remember the fallen. And it is our job as parents that, even if we do not currently fall into one of those categories, we make sure our children know the extent of sacrifices made in pursuit of our freedom and protection.
History is full of traditions made to honor those who have died in service to our nation. While some erect memorials and statues, or plant flowers and trees, we want to share some additional favorite family-friendly ways to present the weight of Memorial Day in the midst of a celebration of America.
Change Your Greeting; Prepare Your Home
So often people wish others a “Happy Memorial Day” when the occasion is meant to be solemn and reflective, instead of a celebration. This is a day to practice remembering more than just your water blaster aim (though we enjoy that too!) Try modeling the sentiment of the day by wishing others “a meaningful Memorial Day” in the week leading up to Memorial Day. If you notice a business or home hanging patriotic décor for the occasion, thank them for observing Memorial Day or note to your children “that house is honoring our fallen soldiers by flying America’s colors.” You may need to explain what “fallen soldier” means to them, and depending upon the age of your kid, you’ll know best how in depth to go.
Involve your kids in decorating your own home – and remind them why we do so: to say “thank you” to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.