Memorial Day can be more than just the traditional kickoff to summer. This national holiday is a perfect time to teach your children the importance of this day, and to show them how to honor our nation’s heroes.
Check out your local library for children’s books about Memorial Day. Use this holiday as a chance to teach your child about why we celebrate. Your librarian is sure to have recommendations for your child’s age, but a few good options might be:
The Wall by Eve Bunting
Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Jill Biden
What the Baby Saw by Theresa Mamah
Memorial Day by Emma Carlson Berne
Crafts are a perfect way to celebrate this holiday. It can be amazing what children can do with a little bit of red, white, and blue paper and paint. Creating American flags, pinwheels, wreaths, and stars will also serve as decorations for your celebrations. Don’t limit yourself to paper crafts. Creating patriotic-themed desserts and snacks can serve as a creative family-activity time for you and your child, while also offering a sweet treat as a reward for your hard work.
Honor and Respect
In talking about the meaning of Memorial Day, it is important to teach about honoring and respecting those who gave their lives in service of our country. Visiting a local war memorial or a veterans’ cemetery can be a time for your family to honor and respect our country’s heroes. If there is not a veterans’ cemetery near you, try walking through a local cemetery. Most veterans’ military service is noted on their gravestones.
In 2000, after learning that most children did not associate Memorial Day with memorializing fallen soldiers, Congress enacted The National Moment of Remembrance. In signing this act, President Clinton asked Americans, wherever they were at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute. This moment of silence is often accompanied by the playing of “Taps.” Teach your child about the Moment of Remembrance, then set an alarm on your phone or watch for 3 p.m.. Take this minute to pause and remember the men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country.
Many communities organize parades as a way to celebrate the start of summer and to memorialize our nation’s heroes. Check your local news to see what is available in your area. Another option is to watch our nation’s largest Memorial Day event, The National Memorial Day Parade is held at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Memorial Day. The parade salutes all who have served and sacrificed in service for our country. You can also view a livestream of the parade by searching “The National Memorial Day Parade” on YouTube.
However you choose to celebrate Memorial Day with your family, remember to take the time to teach the next generation about the history of this national holiday and enjoy the kickoff to a great summer!