The Civil War ended in 1865 only after claiming the lives of more than 2% of the American Population. To put that into perspective, that is more than five times the death rate of any other United States-involved conflict. The Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day, a day of honor on May 30 during which U.S citizens would decorate the graves of soldiers killed in the Civil War. May 30th was chosen as the day of honor because it was said to be the date where the flowers would most likely bloom all over our country. Decoration Day was celebrated for over 50 years specifically honoring those who died in the Civil War. It wasn’t until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who lost their lives while fighting for our country in war.
Memorial Day is a day of reflection and a day for us to show gratitude to those who gave everything for our country. If you would like to show your appreciation for their sacrifice, below are some ways to give back this Memorial Day.
Decorate a memorial site
Find a local veterans cemetery or memorial site to spend some time at this Memorial Day. Bring some American Flags and floral arrangements to honor the memory of soldiers that have passed away.
Help in a parade
One of my favorite Memorial Day activities is attending the local Memorial Day parade. Most of the time these parades are planned by volunteers and they will likely need all the help they can get. If you’re interested in helping out with a parade near you don’t be afraid to offer your services.
Create a care package
Crafting up a care package for veterans and current troops in the line of duty with your children is such a fun thing to do and it’s a great way to teach them why we celebrate Memorial Day. If you’re interested in creating a care package, Supportourtroops.org provides great resources with everything you need to know.
Donate to charity
There are countless ways to give back to our American heroes. Below are some great charities to donate to for Memorial Day:
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Hope for the Warriors
- Navy-Marine Corps relief Society
- Homes for Our Troops
Support family members of a soldier
When someone you love dedicates their life for this country it can be extremely painful for the family. If you know a military family personally, reach out and see if you may be able to help them with anything such as grocery shopping, baby sitting or making them dinner. You may just stop by to say hello and talk to them for a little bit as they may appreciate these courtesies more than you know.