Memorial Day is all about grilling burgers, eating red, white, and blue cupcakes, and hanging out with family, right? Well, actually there is a LOT more to Memorial Day than family gatherings and delicious Memorial Day food.
Most children, today, don’t have a clue why Memorial Day is really celebrated. They just think that it marks the coming of the end of another school year, a long weekend, and the beginning of summer.
Teach your kids the true meaning of Memorial Day!
A Day of Remembrance for Military Veterans Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice!
Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, and it was originally called Decoration Day of the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. By a proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers, the purpose was to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.
In 1873, New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day as a legal holiday. After World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who died in all of America’s wars and was then more widely established as a national holiday throughout the United States.
In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established that Memorial Day was to be commemorated on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C., each year with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.
Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. You will also find many veterans handing out red poppies to honor the blood spilled during wartime, and many families will place flowers, wreaths, grave blankets, and other signs of gratitude to their deceased family members and soldiers’ graves who have served in the military. Also, American flags will be lowered to half-mast as a tribute to those who lost their lives during wartime.
So, this Memorial Day weekend, when you are celebrating with your families and friends, and you are having picnics or barbeques and watching Memorial Day parades, please remember the true meaning of the day. Take a moment of silence and prayer to remember those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. You may also want to bring your children to a local veteran’s cemetery to honor those fallen soldiers.
Memorial Day Activities
This year, in remembrance of Memorial Day, I have created a couple of fun activities for your kids on Memorial Day. The activities include 2 word searches, a criss-cross puzzle, a word scramble, a maze, and 10 coloring pages.
Simply fill out the form below and you will instantly receive the PDF via email.
Kids Books About Memorial Day & America
Here is a shortlist of books to read with your children about Memorial Day and America:
- Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Memorial Day Surprise
- This is My Flag – An activity learning book for kids
- Memorial Day Coloring Book – Activity book for kids
- What Is America? – introduces little ones to the beliefs and ideals that make America unique.
- What Does It Mean to Be American? – Teach children the importance of unity and about the diversity, history, and values of America
- American Symbols and Monuments Coloring Book for Kids
Check out my other seasonal resources on BBAD:
- 20 Fresh Summer Salads – these are oh so good!
- Popsicle Recipes – 27 recipes for delicious popsicles your kids will love
- Have an Intentional Summer – how to enjoy your summer as a family
- 5 Staycation Ideas for Summer – who needs to leave town to have a good summer?
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