Sharing Memorial Day With Your Child
Barbeques and beach trips are favorite Memorial Day weekend activities, but the holiday could be more meaningful by helping children understand its true meaning.
Memorial Day has a solemnity that sets it apart from all other U.S. holidays. It’s a time designated for honoring the military men and women who died while in service to the country.
The tradition observed at the launch of summer began in 1868. What we know as Memorial Day was called Decoration Day back then because flags and flowers were placed as decorations on Civil War soldiers’ gravesites. The current name was made official in 1967. A year later, it was formally declared that Memorial Day would be observed every year on the last Monday of May.
The following are some ideas for sharing the true meaning of Memorial Day with children.
How To Share Memorial Day With Your Child
1.) Attend a Commemorative Event
Most cities in the U.S. hold one or more Memorial Day events that honor the military. There’s usually always a Memorial Day parade, where flag-waving, patriotism, music, dressing in costumes, and other kinds of fun are common. To all the excitement, add an explanation about what the parade represents. Other types of local events include commemorative concerts and exhibitions.
2.) Plan a Memorial Day Destination Getaway
Get the season started off right with a trip to one of the major Memorial Day destinations.
There are quite a few well-known places to be for anyone interested in combining a visit to a historic site with teaching kids about the reason summer begins with a three-day weekend.
A few of the most popular Memorial Day destinations include National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA; Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA; the National Mall in Washington D.C., and The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Details about two of the top Memorial Day destinations follow:
- At the Pearl Harbor World War II naval base in Oahu, Hawaii, visit the location where the United States was attacked by the Japanese in two waves that lasted for 110 minutes on December 7, 1941. A total of 2,335 U.S. military servicemen were killed. The next day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared war on Japan.
- The American Civil War had, by far, more casualties than all other wars the U.S. has been involved in. Gettysburg National Cemetery is an unforgettable Memorial Day destination, where you can stand on the spot Abraham Lincoln stood when delivering the famous Gettysburg address. Watch a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought from July 1 to July 3 in 1863 and is considered the war’s most significant engagement.
3.) Share about a Friend or Relative
There may be no better way to help children understand the significance of Memorial Day than by sharing with a friend or relative who died while in the service. Visit the loved one’s grave and decorate it, in the original tradition of the holiday.
By instructing your children about the true meaning of Memorial Day, they will know that there’s a special meaning to it that deserves recognition and acknowledgment. It will also instill respect for the sacrifices of military members and their families.