“The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem.”
Memorial Day was started to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War and was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I it was extended to commemorate all men and women who died in any war or military action. Over the years the day has become a welcome opportunity to enjoy a three-day patriotic weekend which ushers in summer.
Originally known as Decoration Day, the holiday is observed on the last Monday in May and features speeches, special ceremonies, parades, concerts, festivals, patriotic performances, and more. Wreaths and flags are often placed at soldiers’ graves.
Regardless of how or where you do your celebrating, you can include red, white, and blue decorations in the form of streamers, balloons, stars, or paper goods. You can also proudly display American flag (hung at half-mast until noon) or fasten a patriotic wreath to your door. Picnics/barbeques featuring traditional food (hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans, and watermelon) abound on this day, as do field-day types of games and sporting activities.
Help your children have holiday fun while learning about our nation’s history and military sacrifice and perhaps gaining a sense of patriotism by involving them in many themed crafts and activities. The Holiday Zone.com provides a wide variety of free printable puzzles, coloring pages, crossword puzzles, and the like to keep young ones entertained.. For Memorial Day crafts, poems, word searches, and poems for the kids, click here..
May is also National Military Appreciation Month. For ways to share your respect and gratitude and to help current military personnel and veterans, visit the USO website. You might consider making a donation in memory of a loved one or thankfully shaking the hand of a person in uniform. Perhaps you will even utter a silent “thanks” to those who have died and those who are currently in harm’s way sometime during the day
Check your local paper or online for holiday activities scheduled for our area. There is a 5K run at Como Lake in St. Paul, and the Landing in Shakopee will feature Civil War entertainment all weekend. Click here for additional happenings.