Memorial Day usually means a day off, time to relax, barbecue, the beach and time with friends.

But I hope on this Memorial Day you also take time to remember the significance of the day – honoring the people who have served our country and given their lives for our freedom.

It is an especially sobering day for me. I lost a brother during the Vietnam war and that loss forever changed our family. And this year, I won’t be with my father who served in WWII as he finally went to be with the Lord.

Because I lived in a military town for so much of my adult life, I am acutely aware of all the families that lost loved ones to recent wars as well.

This year, think of how you can honor those who have died in the service of their country.

Here are 10 ideas to honor them:

1. Explain the significance of the day to your children.
2. Fly the American flag at half-mast.
3. Visit a war museum or memorial.
4. Place a red poppy on the grave of a veteran (a symbol of the blood of heroes that never dies).
5. Take a moment for a silent prayer and pray for those still in harm’s way.
6. Attend a parade or religious service honoring our fallen soldiers.
7. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance (pause at 3:00p.m. your time zone).
8. Give a donation to a veteran charity like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
9. Sponsor a thank you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation. You can dedicate your bouquet to a fallen soldier.
10. Ask your school to be involved in the Adopt a Grave program –the school takes care of a grave of a fallen soldier by keeping it clean and placing flowers on it.

There aren’t words to express the gratitude I feel to those who bravely fought for our freedom. Thank you to all the soldiers men and women who answered the call, and to the families who sacrifice was great!

10 ways to honor the fallen

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