It’s Memorial Day weekend – which means you have 3 days off to do anything and everything you want…or nothing at all. We are raising our flags, firing up the grill, stuffing our picnic baskets, grabbing our camping gear, paying our respects to those who served, and of course, participating in meaningful acts of patriotism. Below are 7 different ways you and your friends can delight in Memorial Day!
A random but relevant story: My childhood home sat on four acres of grassy lush fields and ended with a flowing river and a mini graveyard on the property. Every year on Memorial Day a little old lady would bring flowers to the grave of her fallen hero. It was a sweet, innocent and beautiful tribute to a fallen hero. Apparently, he was a Revolutionary War soldier, her great uncle, and in her mind, a legend. That said, you should consider doing the same! Head to a memorial, decorate a grave with flowers, lay wreaths for the fallen or merely pay a visit to a loved one. They would love to see you!
Plant a Garden
Winter is over and it’s “safe” to plant gardens to your desire! This long weekend is the perfect time to get out in the yard and start primping and pruning for the warm, summer months ahead. To honor the holiday, plant a garden of Poppies! Poppies are the official flower of remembrance and a signal of respect on Memorial Day. They represent both gratitude and hope for Veterans, and once bloomed, will add a beautiful pop of color to the world!
Visit a National Park
The best summer kick-off activity is to get outside and appreciate the land and natural beauty around you. So, pack a bag, go for a hike, pitch a tent, or visit one of the country’s National Parks, many of which are also memorials, monuments, or preserved historical sites. Some of our favorites include:
- Gettysburg National Military Park – site of the bloodiest battle in the civil war, which later provided inspiration for Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial – honor’s lives lost during this controversial war and is seated in our nation’s capital.
- Minute Man National Historical Park – the opening battle of the American Revolution took place at this site.
- World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument – the location of the American battleship force during the Pearl Harbor attack.
Go to a Parade
Virtually every town in the Nation will be having some kind of parade party this weekend, and a parade is a prime opportunity for some solid people watching and all-day entertainment! So, grab your crew cooler and head down to your local parade early to get a good spot. Most veteran service agencies plan the parades, so check their websites for parade routes or go here for a listing of parades across the nation.
Remember the Fallen…It’s the Law
We aren’t joking. A law was passed by Congress in 2000 requiring Americans to pause at 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day to honor the fallen. This isn’t enforced or observed regularly, but we suggest setting an alarm on your phone and taking a moment in silence (yes, set the hot dog down) to be thankful for your freedom!
Volunteer at Your Local VA Hospital
If you’re looking for a way to truly give back, we suggest taking one day this weekend to volunteer. It could be anywhere, but the local VA hospital is our top pick. Older vets oftentimes are just seeking out company and someone to listen. You may get lucky and learn first-hand what it was like to serve in WWII or any of the other wars. The population of men and women who served in these wars is decreasing, so do a great deed and be exposed to a piece of history this Memorial Day weekend.
Support Your Local Salvation Army
Donate the belongings that you can stand to live without and make room for your summer essentials! I’m sure it wouldn’t kill you to do a little spring cleaning. So get downsizing and start minimizing. Giving always feels good, and you get a tax deduction!
Our gratitude for those who have served our country shall never go unnoticed. Be grateful. Live free. Go explore. Make it count. And, if you’re shopping this weekend, don’t forget to celebrate with up to an additional 25% on eBags.com
Happy Memorial Day!