This Memorial Day we honor and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.
While Veterans Day, observed every November 11, recognizes all who have served in the Armed Forces, and it is also an appropriate time to show your appreciation to veteran friends and family, Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the military. This occasion is a time to reflect on these Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and defending the country they deeply loved.
Here are a few things you could do this Memorial Day to honor our nation’s fallen heroes.
1. Wear or display a red poppy.
A widely recognized memorial symbol for soldiers who have died in conflict, the red poppy tradition grew from the World War I poem, “In Flanders Field,” by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The poem refers to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers in the lines:
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row.”
2. Pause at 3 p.m.
In accordance with the National Moment of Remembrance resolution, which was passed in 2000, pause from whatever you are doing at this time to reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom to all.
3. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert.
Broadcast live from the U.S. Capitol Building’s West Lawn, the National Memorial Day Concert has become a memorial service for the entire nation. Featuring the National Symphony Orchestra as well as military bands and choral groups, the concert is a moving tribute to the fallen and their families.
4. Volunteer to place wreaths at the gravesites at your closest national cemetery.
Many cemeteries have memorials and pathways commemorating soldiers and veterans. Click here for a list of all national cemeteries by state.
5. Display the U.S. flag.
Memorial Day is a day of national mourning, fly the flag at half-staff from sunrise until noon to commemorate those who have died. The flag is raised back to full staff at 12 p.m. to honor living veterans.