Memorial Day is right around the corner (May 27, 2019 – Mark your calendar!). Although many people get caught up in the idea that this national holiday is the unofficial start of summer, it’s important to respect the true meaning of the day: to remember and honor all of the people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. While some people choose to celebrate all veterans on Memorial Day, today we’re focusing on how to honor a veteran who is deceased. Use the tips below if you’re wondering how to commemorate our country’s fallen heroes.
How to Honor a Veteran on Memorial Day
Pause and reflect at 3:00 PM on Memorial Day.
The National Moment of Remembrance Act was signed into law in 2000, and it specified that every American should pause at 3:00pm local time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who have died defending the United States. These brave service members helped protect our freedoms and values, so wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, take this one moment to reflect. Encourage the people around you to join in as well.
Visit the gravesite of the veteran.
If you live near the gravesite of a loved one who died serving our country, consider visiting it on Memorial Day. You could simply stand at the gravesite, thinking back on memories of the person, or you may wish to bring a small American flag or some flowers to leave at the grave as a token of your gratitude. If you would prefer, you could also visit one of that veteran’s favorite spots (a park, a restaurant, etc.) and use the time to reminisce about the veteran’s life.
Many local veterans’ cemeteries allow volunteers to lay flowers or plant flags to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. So if you don’t know any deceased veterans, contact your local veterans’ cemetery to see if they’re accepting volunteer help for Memorial Day.
Make a donation.
Consider making a donation to a charity that supports veterans and their families. Many organizations work hard to provide homes, scholarship opportunities, and rehabilitation programs to appreciative veterans. Here are some options for you:
Watch the National Memorial Day Concert or National Memorial Day Parade.
The National Memorial Day Concert airs on PBS on the evening of Memorial Day, and it’s one of the highest rated programs on the channel. In addition to celebrities, honored guests like the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, U.S. Army Chorus and Army Voices, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, and Soldiers’ Chorus will perform.
Broadcast live from Washington D.C. to troops around the world, the National Memorial Day Parade occurs at 2:00pm ET on Memorial Day. To find out how you can view it where you live, check out your local listings or view this page.
Of course these aren’t the only ways to commemorate the men and women of our armed forces who died during their service. If you’re wondering how to honor a veteran this Memorial Day, be creative and explore other ways you might show your gratitude. As long as you’re respectful and earnest, your efforts will be appreciated.
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