Memorial Day is more than just the official start to the summer season. It's also an important day to remember those men and women who died in military service. It's a day to honor all branches of the military, all wars and anyone who served for their country. That's why it's so important to spend some time educating your kids about the true meaning of the holiday. One of the best ways to teach this to your children is spending a part of the day giving back to honor military veterans. Here are five ideas to help you find some great ways to give back to the military during Memorial Day.
Related: 5 Best Ways To Observe Memorial Day
Volunteer At A Parade
Most large cities have a parade on Memorial Day where men and women of all military branches are honored. It's a fun way to get out for the holiday, to honor the military and to celebrate the arrival of the new season with your family. However, there is always a lot of work to be done. There are lots of logistics to plan and all sorts of jobs to be completed. Check with your local parade committee to see how you can volunteer to help. They may need assistance with everything from setting up the route to cleaning up after the big event.
Visit Military Graves
There are several military cemeteries all over the country. From Bakersfield National Cemetery in California to Fort Logan National Cemetery in Colorado to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, there are 134 national cemeteries in 39 states. All of which place flowers and flags on every single grave for Memorial Day, and that's most often done by local volunteers. Call the cemetery nearest you to find out if they are in search of volunteers to help place flags or flowers for the holiday. It's a wonderful way to honor veterans while teaching your children about the price of war.
Make Care Packages
Don't forget, there are many troops overseas today. Memorial Day is a great time to honor them as well. Teach your kids about the day while you put together some care packages to send overseas. Some of the most requested items from soldiers include phone cards, personal hygiene items like razors, floss and toothbrushes, magazines, books, batteries, movies, candy, gum and breath mints. Military.com offers some great information to help you figure out the best items to send to the troops overseas.
Volunteer At A VA Hospital
It's always an important (and rewarding) job to volunteer at a hospital, but volunteering at a VA Hospital is a great way to honor veterans for Memorial Day. There are so many different jobs to do when you volunteer at a VA Hospital, from visiting patient rooms with books and magazines to helping out in the kitchen doing dishes or greeting new patients when they first arrive. Volunteers are crucial to the success of any hospital, so pay your respects this Memorial Day by spending a few hours donating your time to a VA Hospital in need.
Say Thank You
It seems like such a simple gesture, but those two little words mean everything. On Memorial Day, as well as the rest of the year, be sure to say thank you to every veteran you see. You can also spend a few minutes writing a thank you letter to someone overseas. Even if you don't personally know anyone currently serving, A Million Thanks makes it super easy for you to get a thank you letter to a soldier. A simple thank you, even from a stranger, may be all that's needed to bring a much-needed smile to a man or woman who is fighting for their country.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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