Helping Your Children Understand and Celebrate Memorial Day
At my Dad’s memorial service, the Army color guard played taps, they folded up an American Flag, got on one knee, handed the flag to his wife and said something close to these words, “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation this flag is presented to you.” Dad fought in World War 2. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and received a Purple Heart. He seldom ever talked about it. He never really thought his sacrifice for his country was that big of a deal. I remember him saying, “That’s just what you do for the price of freedom.”
Today, on Memorial Day, we American’s pause with deep gratitude for the incredible sacrifice of all our veterans. These extraordinary heroes have kept our nation free and safe. Not only are we grateful for their sacrifice but I believe it’s important to teach the meaning of Memorial Day to our children.
Here is an a helpful excerpt from an article on Commemorating Memorial Day with Kids from Military.com:
To many Americans, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and is an excuse to get out and barbeque and go camping, but to military families the meaning runs much deeper than a casual barbeque. We want our children to understand why Memorial Day is a holiday and what it means to our country’s history and our warriors’ families.
The simplest thing you can do to explain and honor this holiday with your children is to spend time talking to them about what Memorial Day means to you. Take the day to talk & reflect on the subject of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Honor and Respect
Visit a local Veteran’s cemetery. Almost every community has some sort of a war memorial.
Visit and Pay Tribute
Take cookies, books, or movies to a nearby Veteran’s hospital.
Celebrate with a Parade
Go to a Memorial Day parade. To find one near you visit vetfriends.com. Or, watch the National Memorial Day Parade on television.
This link provides kids an online scavenger hunt that helps them learn about the history of Memorial Day.
Recognize our Heroes
Teach your children about medals of honor. You can print a Medal of Honor coloring book and learn the history behind our brave Soldiers.
Educate with History
Watch a movie and learn some history about famous battles of the past. The History Channel and The Military Channel have many shows that might fit this bill.
Create with Crafts
Visit enchantedlearning.com and find Memorial Day coloring pages, craft projects, word searches, quizzes and more.
Break Bread Together
Allrecipes.com has some great Memorial Day recipes for the holiday.
Make a Service Member’s Day
Have your children create a card or picture to be sent overseas to a Soldier currently at war.