Remembering those who gave all is a great time to give back!
American Flags are raised, red, white and blue banners decorate homes and buildings, flowers adorn grave markers. These are the combined symbols of Memorial Day and those who have served our Country by paying the ultimate price.
Americans use Memorial Day to mark the remembrance of all the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. We mark the occasion with military parades, church picnics, family bar-b-ques and non-profit fundraising events that generate money for veterans causes and gather resources for the veterans’ families left behind. Generosity and sentiment outpours across the land as all who have been touched by a loss of a loved one participate in the non-profit fundraising events by volunteering, organizing, or donating in the name of one who has fallen. Americans are truly the most patriotic nation on earth and Memorial Day is a powerful symbol of all we hold sacred.
Although the Memorial Day Holiday is one of somber remembrance it also signifies the start of summer. This is not an official designation but one used to kick-off summer vacations and summer events. Memorial Day means school is out and the public and community pools open. Across the country the last weekend in May is often one of perfect not-too-cold, not-too-hot weather and finally time for fun in the sun. Attending or creating special events to mark the occasion is the way to celebrate the day:
Start Your Engines
Host your Memorial Day event or non-profit fundraiser with All-American traditions like a hamburger and hot dog cookout or getting the gang together to watch the Indianapolis 500. With over 80 years in the history books this American classic honors competition and American innovation while holding on to decades old traditions. The largest spectator event in the world is a mainstay of Memorial Day. Like the World Series or Kentucky Derby it doesn’t take being a fan of the sport to take part in the fun of a forming a pool to pick the winner or choosing a favorite and cheering them on through the 500 miles. If you are in the Mid-West do anything possible to make it to Speedway, Indiana for the race! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. If you’re not able to make it to the track, host a race themed party, kick up your feet and join the millions who are watching the Indy 500 on TV.
If you are the two-wheel type then Memorial Day weekend could mean it is time to take the bike out of the garage and hit the open road on a your Harley. There is special bond among V-Twin bikers and this great country. A proud and fiercely patriotic group, American motorcyclists will take part in scores of individual non-profit fund raisers for Veterans’ causes as well as participating in the Run For The Wall. This cross country marathon gathers bikers from across the country on a coast to coast ride originating in California and ending at The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Once there, they join an event at the Capitol known as Rolling Thunder, a massive gathering of over 900,000 motorcyclists and spectators. For 25 years the motorcyclists have chosen Memorial Day to thunder through the streets to raise awareness and non-profit funds to provide financial support to those still Missing In Action as well as veterans, veterans’ families, and veterans’ groups. If the ride to Washington is a bit ambitious, chances are there will be a motorcycle run or rally in your area to benefit and honor our vets.
Whether you are a motorcyclist or just a patriot, at least once make the journey to our nation’s capital on a Memorial Day. There is no better place to feel what it means to be American or connect with all those who have gone before to create and defend this country. This year make plans to attend or watch the PBS televised National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the Capitol. This tradition is a musical tribute for current and former service members and a bold patriotic display for all of us as countrymen (and women).
Fireworks and Family
Whether with a parade or prayer there is not a city or town in the U.S. that will not share in Memorial Day. Even the smallest communities have been touched by a loss from a recent or long-past war. The reason we celebrate is to join them in remembering. This year enjoy fireworks, food and fun while taking a moment to remember the symbolism of the day and all those who have served and sacrificed.
Happy Memorial Day! Do you have any special Memorial Day Plans? What does your community do to honor veterans and their families?