Memorial Day is a time for paying tribute to the valiant men and women who died in the US military service. It is originally called Decoration Day as it was initially observed by decorating the graves of the Civil War soldiers on May 30, 1868. There are several ways to get involved in appreciating the sacrifices of the military in upholding the country's liberty and freedom. Traditionally, people celebrate patriotism of the departed soldiers by visiting cemeteries, bringing flowers and memorial gifts, flying the US flag at half-staff from dawn until noontime and by a national moment of remembrance or silence at 3pm. Other people participate in the commemoration by sporting events, family gatherings, watching video coverage at home, attending concerts or musical performances, and joining the processions. If you wish to take an active part in observing Memorial Day, participate in the parade. Here are several tips to get you involved in the celebration.
- Know how you would like to join the parade, whether as a marcher, a volunteer or a sponsor. Marching bands are needed for every parade. Sponsors are also a huge help in realizing the procession event. It is an opportunity for businesses or organizations to get exposure and at the same time, show support to the national cause.
- Check with the local Chamber of Commerce, local newspaper and veteran's organization for information and an application to join the parade. You can also gather information online by checking the Memorial Day Parade site and download required registration/application forms. Forms may vary for marchers, volunteers and sponsors. Take note of the deadline and the corresponding fee.
- Read the parade and eligibility guidelines carefully. That is where you will find detailed information on the parade route, time, transportation, and attire among others.
- Follow the theme. If you are creating a float, ensure that your float design has relevance to the theme and event. The parade guidelines include instructions and restrictions. Be sure you understand the limitations in order for your entry to be approved by the parade committee.
- Build your float according to the approved design and create your own signage for identification, should the parade coordinator advise you to do so.
- If you are bringing your car, have it pre-approved by the parade committee.
- Arrive ahead of time and comply with the line-up, driving and procession instructions.
Memorial Day is more than just a holiday that many people view as the commencement of summer. It is an opportunity to honor the departed lives and relive their sacrifices by teaching the younger generation the true meaning of Memorial Day. Other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and others also celebrate Memorial Day. Some countries recognize it as Remembrance Day or Veteran's Day. The celebration date may vary in each country but the purpose is the same. Memorial Day is a time set aside for paying homage to the men and women in military service defending the country's independence.