In the wake of the United States Civil War’s deadliest battle, Abraham Lincoln framed the Gettysburg Address by saying: “We here highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” We continue this sentiment by celebrating Memorial Day each year, a day for honoring and remembering all military men and women who died while in military service. While we can no longer personally thank or help those who gave their lives for our freedoms, we can take some specific and meaningful actions to honor those who have fallen as well as thank current veterans and serving military members while we still can.
Share About Your Ancestors. If you have family members who served and died in the military, get pictures and stories of them and place them around at your Memorial Day picnic or festivities. Remember them with honor, even if you didn’t know them all that well or never met them. You could also create a scrapbook of them and share with other family members and future generations.
Serve Military Families. Reach out to a military family who has a loved one away on duty. Honor these brave military members by assisting their families back home in whatever way you can. Help ease stress and worry by cooking a meal, mowing a lawn, or doing a home improvement project that might be needed and letting them know the community is behind them and appreciate their sacrifice.
Support Current Military Members. Create a care package or write a letter of thank you to a current military member, thanking them for their valuable service. Our service men and women always appreciate tokens from back home while they are deployed. You can also send some needed personal care items, specially snacks, postcards, and more.
Display a Flag. That simple act serves as a great reminder of the sacrifices that have been paid for our freedom. The proper way to display the flag on Memorial Day is to lower it to half mast until noon, then raise it back to full mast for the rest of the day. This is to symbolize America’s ability to rise in the face of adversity and ensure no soldier has died in vain.
Since the earliest days of this country, America has been blessed with selfless men and women who put their country before self. Driven by a profound sense of patriotism, they have been willing to sacrifice everything in order to defend the freedoms that define our nation. For all of us, it is a debt impossible to repay, so we show our gratitude by honoring these heroes and paying tribute to those we have lost.