Memorial Day is dedicated to the men and women who died in all wars fought for the United States.
A simple way to encourage your kids to reflect on the meaning of the day is by getting them to join the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM local time.
Both Kinds of Memorial Day
In day-to-day life, many of us take the ultimate sacrifice of military men and women for granted. We even do this on Memorial Day, excited as we are for a day off, BBQs, and celebration with friends and family.
I think there’s room for both thoughtful reflections on the sacrifice of those who have died fighting for America, along with an appreciation for what we have: our freedom, our families, and yes, the welcome start of a new summer.
Growing up, my grandmother used to drive me around to various cemeteries on Memorial Day. We placed new American flags at the graves of our relatives who fought in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. We paused at each grave, including my grandfather, and thought about what their service meant them, and how it lives on through us.
And then we went out for ice cream and returned to her farm to roast hot dogs over a small fire ring by a pond.
Many families in the US are connected to the Armed Forces
According to The Pew Research Center,
A smaller share of Americans currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces than at any time since the peace-time era between World Wars I and II. During the past decade, as the military has been engaged in the longest period of sustained conflict in the nation’s history, just one-half of one percent of American adults has served on active duty at any given time.1
However, many of us have direct familial connections to people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some 57% of Americans aged 30-49 have an immediate family member who served. And among those ages 18-29, the share is one-third.
Here are three links that can help you explain the meaning of Memorial Day with your kids.