Memorial Day aims to honor those men and women who have selflessly sacrificed their lives in order to safeguard our freedom and our sovereignty. It is an opportune time to look back and pay homage to their gallantry and heroism. However, the way Memorial Day is being commemorated has totally changed through the years. The emphasis has shifted from “true meaning” to “real excitement”. Since your kids get to enjoy an automatic three-day vacation from school during the Memorial Day observance, they have become more eager to experience the fun fair, the store sale, and the free time.
If you wish to teach your kids the value of a Memorial Day commemoration, follow these suggestions:
- True importance. Tell your kids that Memorial Day is being observed annually to create some sort of a national awareness. It is a fitting tribute to our forefathers who have bravely defended this country. It is also a time to remember our departed loved ones, whether they have rendered military service or not. Find time to let your kids learn the Pledge of Allegiance by heart. Introduce the piece a few weeks before Memorial Day. Challenge them to memorize it and promise a prize if they get recite the piece well. If your kids have already memorized the Pledge of Allegiance, teach them some patriotic poems and songs. Access the Internet if you want to have a lot of choices.
- Active participation. Encourage your kids to become part of the Memorial Day undertakings in your locality. Coordinate with your community leader and identify the possible activities for your kids. Choose the ones that are engaging and enticing for your kids. Demonstrate to your kids the proper way to display an American flag at home. Discuss how and why the simple act of displaying the American flag is already enough to show respect to our patriotic forefathers. Teach them how to raise and lower the American flag properly.
- Role model. Is there a veteran in your community? Do you have a family member, a close relative, or a friend who was a member of the armed forces? Introduce the living hero to your kids. Give your kids the chance to exchange ideas with him. Let your kids ask him some questions. Your kids will surely learn a lot from his insights. Talk to your kids after they have met the living hero. Find out about their impressions. Did they gain something from the encounter?
You can also schedule a trip for your kids. Bring them into a nursing home for older veterans. Before the trip, instruct your kids to make some thank you cards. Ask them to personalize their messages for the veterans. Coach them to mount a short talent show so they can get the chance to entertain the veterans during the scheduled visit. If it is difficult for you to go to a nursing home, visit a cemetery in your community. Tell your kids to place flowers and flags on the veterans’ graves.
- Moment of remembrance. The Commission on Remembrance, under the auspices of the White House, maintains a website and enjoins everyone to observe a moment of remembrance during Memorial Day. Let your kids visit the website and learn the rest of the undertaking.
Instilling the true meaning of Memorial Day in your kids can help a lot in shaping their sense of honor and their love of country. Give it your best shot.