Holidays provide the perfect opportunity to start traditions with your family, and Memorial Day is no exception. Coming around reliably once each year, tying traditions to holidays gives us something to look forward to and provides the day with another layer of significance for you and your family, keeping you close. Given the nature of Memorial Day, however, you’ll want to be careful as you find a respectful way to honor the day through tradition. While many celebrate the day as time away from work, it’s important to remember the reason we take the day off in the first place.
If you’re thinking about starting a Memorial Day tradition with your family, consider some of these ideas:
Visit Your Favorite Veteran.
If you have a family member who served in the armed forces, make it a point to spend the day with them – especially if they’re an older family member, like a grandparent. Don’t have a veteran in your life? Odds are, at least one or two reside at your local nursing home. It could be a great day to volunteer and pay your respects through your service. And if you give back as a family, you’ll be able to cherish that shared memory for years to come.
Tour a Battlefield
For families who love to travel, consider starting a new Memorial Day tradition of visiting a historic battlefield. Residents of the east coast of the United States can explore battleground from the Civil War, but in many cases, you’d need to travel abroad to witness the fields where some of the world’s most significant battles occurred. Many European countries experienced the horrors of war up close during both World Wars, leaving behind plenty of places to pay your respects.
Visit a War Museum or Memorial.
Another great Memorial Day tradition that may inspire a little travel? Commit to touring a war museum or memorial each Memorial Day. Unlike battlefields, you can easily find memorials scattered around the country, so you can likely make a day trip of the experience. A quick Google search will show you which options exist in your area.
Pay Your Respects With a Moment of Silence.
For some families, it’s impossible to get away from the tradition of kicking off the summer on Memorial Day with a backyard BBQ. And that’s OK! After all, the holiday weekend provides the perfect excuse for families to get together, especially if you don’t live right around the corner from one another. However, you can keep the meaning of Memorial Day on your mind by incorporating a moment of silence into your plans. After everyone sits down to eat but before you dive into your meals, pause for a minute to pay your respects and honor the memories of those who gave their lives for your freedom.
While there’s nothing wrong with getting out and having some fun on Memorial Day, it’s important not to lose sight of the reason the day exists. Start one of these Memorial Day traditions with your family to guarantee you enjoy the day while paying your respects.