By Trina Boice
For most Americans, Memorial Day is a chance to sleep in and get the day off of work or school. If you have children, it’s a terrific opportunity to teach them about our country, respect, honor, reverence, history, and more.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day set aside for remembrance of those who have died in our nation’s service. Memorial Day was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. The South, at first, refused to acknowledge Memorial Day, honoring their dead on separate days until after WWI. It is now observed in almost every state of the union on the last Monday of every May. Since the Civil War more than 1.1 million veterans, both women and men, have lost their lives in military service to America.
With four sons in my family, we’ve created a fun tradition with our Cub Scout pack where we place flags on the tombstones of fallen soldiers and then we present a special wreath at the cemetery’s ceremony on Memorial Day. The boys really get a kick out of reading the tombstones and imagining what the soldiers would have looked like. The parents go crazy with their cameras, taking incredibly patriotic photos of their own sons in uniform who are paying respect.
Memorial Day reminds us of our duties towards the wounded soldiers and the bereaved families, orphans and widows of the dead soldiers. In addition to the fun BBQ's and recreational activities next weekend, we should take a few minutes to show our gratitude to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Here are a few ways you can honor their memory this year:
Placing flags, garlands or flowers on the grave sites.
Visiting cemeteries and memorials.
Furling the American Flag at half-mast until noon.
Furling the 'POW/MIA Flag'.
Keeping silence for a minute at 3 p.m., 'National Moment of Remembrance' and listening to Taps being played.
Taking a pledge to aid the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans of the dead and keeping it.
Offering thanks to the veterans and appreciating the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers to the bereaved families personally.
I live for freebies, and here are some that can help you celebrate Memorial Day:
Free Memorial Day quotes, poems, songs, tributes, reflections, presidential declarations and facts: http://www.thememorialdaytribute.com/observe-memorial-day.html
Free Memorial Day essays, speeches, and prayers: http://www.usmemorialday.org/write.html
Free Memorial Day clip art images: http://www.designedtoat.com/memorial_day.shtml
Free Memorial Day ecards:www.memorialsday.com http://www.123greetings.com/ http://www.bluemountain.com/
Free Memorial Day coloring pages: http://hubpages.com/hub/FREE-Coloring-Pages---American-Memorial-Day---Colouring-Sheets-Free-Downloads
Ok, now I can’t ignore the fact that Memorial Day also means the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation for many families in America, so here are a few more fun freebies as you get prepared for some serious fun in the sun!
Free Orlando Vacation Planning Kit: http://www.orlandoinfo.com/vacationkit/
Free Gift Bag from PacSun (5/29) - PacSun on Memorial Day Weekend 5/29: "First 50 in the door when the store opens score a gift bag stuffed with a piece of monster schwag. We're talking music, headphones, clothes, or even trips. BIG trips. How big? Check 'em out..." http://shop.pacsun.com/content.jsp?pageName=summer
Free Limeade at Taco Bell valid through 7/11/2010 or until 500,000 free Limeade Sparkler online coupons are redeemed, whichever occurs first. http://www.tacobell.com/promo/limeade-coupon
Free One-Year Subscription to ELLE Elle reports on emerging trends in fashion, beauty and style. Its visual core is surrounded by features, news and analysis of the larger world. Its articles feature information on culture, health, politics, art and relationships. http://www.freebizmag.com/emailelle02welcome.htm
Chick-fil-A Free Spicy Chicken Sandwiches 5/21 Chick-fil-A is giving a limited number of FREE Spicy Chicken Sandwiches to customers who make a reservation. To make your reservation, visit this offer beginning Friday, May 21 and choose your preferred Chick-fil-A Restaurant location and time. http://www.getspicychicken.com/
Dice: Hundreds of the Latest Technology Magazines Hundreds of the latest technology magazines offered by Dice technology magazine center in association with Mercury Magazines. Tell them about yourself, choose up to three magazines and complete subscription forms. http://www.mercurymagazines.com/pr1/111/111158
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend next week!