Five Ways to Remember this Memorial Day

by - Monday, May 30, 2016

It seems to me that Memorial Day has become an occasion to have a picnic and put up a meme about remembrance. I am not knocking those things, as I think they actually do have a place in doing good for everyone, but I am trying to brainstorm some ideas that might be relatively low impact but still honors the fallen in a more substantive way. We want to do more with our kid so he knows how important this day is.

How does your family remember on Memorial Day? What ideas should I add to the list?

1. Donate to an Organization that Helps Veterans or their Families

There are so many ways to give aid to active soldiers, veterans, those wounded (I wish more specifically to PTSD, but I bet that is coming), and their families. We will never be able to truly repay the debt that American soldiers have paid for our country, but we can still do a lot for their families and those serving now. I know our family could do more. Choose a charity to donate to from this big list or find another one that speaks to you (you can find all types).

One of my favorites is Ruckabye Baby which gives baby carriers to soldiers so they can have that bonding time with their children. So sweet.

Pick something every year. If you are having a picnic today, why not ask your guests to throw in a few bucks (or pick items for a care package) and you could donate as a group! This is an opportunity to put your money where your mouth (or meme) is.

2. Clean Up Your Neighborhood

This one may sound frivolous and silly in the light of their incredible sacrifice, but if these men and women gave their lives for our country, shouldn't we each do our part to make it as great a country as we can? If we all were more active participants in making this country great, I think that honors their sacrifice in the best way we can. A simple walk around your neighborhood until you fill a garbage bag with trash gives you the opportunity to enjoy the weather and take care of where you live.

You know what your community needs- today is a perfect day to get started or get involved!

3. Start a Memorial Garden

Plant a tree or small garden in your own yard in honor of the fallen. A memorial doesn't just have to be a big monument in Washington DC. We can all participate (and a little garden keeps the air that much cleaner).

4.  Go to a Parade or Community Event

In my hometown, there is a parade and a service on Memorial Day. We always went, because my Dad's city band marches in the parade. I have no idea what happens here in Seattle, and that is 100% on me. These kinds of events connect you to your community and the simple fact that soldiers from right where you live died for your freedom. Being connected to our communities is the first step to being a more active contributor, so get out there and mourn with others before you hit the picnics.

5. Don't Buy Anything

Memorial Day has become a day for sales, because companies figure if you aren't working than you must be shopping. Right? There are no other possible things a person could be doing than trying to get a cheap appliance or a bunch of (Made somewhere else) clothes on sale. Don't send the message it is ok to co-opt a sacred American holiday to schlep your wares by giving them your money. Just don't shop. Pretty easy, right?

This is what I have got. Any more ideas?

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