To some people, Memorial Day is just a holiday to begin the unofficial start of summer. It’s a day off from work, and maybe a special time to spend with family and friends. But the true meaning of the holiday began as a way to remember those who have served our country, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice to gain or protect the freedoms we now enjoy.
Over the years, the holiday has expanded as a time to remember loved ones and others who have departed this life. It even becomes a little showy with flowers and other adornments to symbolize how much the person meant to us. But then the question is this: Are there other ways to remember those who live in our hearts?
- A visit to the cemetery to decorate a gravesite is certainly requisite for most of us, but to truly honor the memory of someone, you can make a more personal difference.
- To honor a veteran
- Donate to one of the many worthwhile organizations that support our veterans such as: Wounded Warriors http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/, Paralyzed American Veterans http://www.pva.org/site/c.ajIRK9NJLcJ2E/b.6305401/k.BCBB/Home.htm, Disabled American Veterans http://www.dav.org/, etc.
- Contact a local American Legion or VFW to find out what is needed and then donate to the need
- Contact a local veterans’ retirement home, hospital, or military reserve to see what donations are needed
- Write a letter to a soldier stationed abroad
To honor a loved one or someone special (examples are not meant to be specifically stereotypical)
- To honor of a mother, donate a special toy to a preschool serving low-income families, or an item to a home for single mothers
- To honor a father, donate to sports activity fees for lower income children, or buy passes to the swimming pool or golf course to treat others
- Donate to the person’s favorite charity
- Donate a favorite food of the deceased to a food pantry
- Make a special dish using the above and share with family or friends while you discuss the importance of that person’s life to you
The bottom line to honor someone is simply to remember how they impacted your life. So whether you do that with flowers at the gravesite, donating to a cause in which the departed one believed, or caring for others in the spirit to honor those who have passed, make it personal. Memories are often the most important and valuable things we possess, and this Memorial Day you can make it your opportunity to demonstrate that through action. Oh, and happy start of summer!