The unofficial start to summer and a day full of BBQ’s and get-togethers, many forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. It’s a day meant to commemorate the lives of U.S. soldiers who have died in military service. Traditionally, Veteran’s Day is the time to honor war veterans, but Memorial Day offers another occasion to show respect for those involved in military service. If you own or work for a small business there are quite a few ways you can honor our fallen service members on Memorial Day. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Offer special discounts or free items to military members or veterans. Promote a special offer like a 20 percent discount on all purchases.
- Send out a Memorial Day card with a special offer included. Customers can bring the postcard to your store to receive a special discount or a free promotional gift on or around Memorial Day.
- Sponsor a float in your local Memorial Day parade. Many towns and cities host annual Memorial Day parades to honor service members, and they seek local businesses as sponsors for their floats to support the cost of the ceremony. Check in with your local community leaders to find out what’s going on in your area, and how your small business can get involved.
- There are many resources for our military, and they’re always in need of funding. Pick an organization, and collect donations at your place of business.
There is much confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have lost their lives while in service to protect our wonderful country. Veteran’s Day is a day to say Thank you to all of those who have served our country. That being said, I do feel that on Memorial Day we should take some time to appreciate those who have done remarkable things to protect preserve our rights as Americans.
One great way to say Thank you to Veterans this Memorial Day is to visit a Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. Take your time to visit with some of the Veterans and allow them to share their stories. They have experienced interesting things. Thank them for the service.
Another way to say Thank you to a Veteran this Memorial Day is to visit a National Cemetery. You can bring a group of friends and pull weeds and plant flowers. Then pick one special name and find out more about this person. You can write a sincere letter of thanks to his family showing that their loss is appreciated.
Donating to one of the plethora of Veteran’s organization is another way to say Thank You to Veterans this Memorial Day. There are many organization out there that need funding to help get Veterans on their feet again after fighting for our country or help in the healthcare of our Veterans.
Take Memorial Day to thank our Veterans. Sure it has become known as the kick off to summer weekend and a time for barbecues and friends, but the real purpose for this holiday is to recount the sacrifices of our soldiers. Do not let the day go by without appreciating the real meaning behind Memorial Day.
Memorial Day and Veterans Day have a long and storied history. They began as two special days in our country’s history, Decoration Day and Armistice Day. The first came into existence after the end of the Civil War almost 150 years ago as visitors to cemeteries in both the North and the South honored the war dead by “decorating” tombstones and gravesites with fresh flowers. The latter holiday signified the end of the fighting on the Western front of the Great War (World War I) at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918. Again, that day was to honor those who died in that war. Since the advent of both holidays, there have been quite a few changes, however.
Although Decoration Day began to be known as “Memorial Day” beginning in 1882, it was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. The following year, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, moving the celebration (which had always been on May 30) to the last Monday in May instead so that Americans could have a convenient three-day weekend, thereby “announcing” the unofficial beginning of summer. That same bill also moved Armistice Day–better known since the end of World War II as Veterans Day–to a Monday. (Because of public furor, however, the official celebration of that day was moved back to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.)
The Gallery Collection features several patriotic Christmas cards, the designs of which are perfect for holidays such as Memorial Day and Independence Day or even Veterans Day for those who are inclined to send out cards commemorating those days. It’s a wonderful way to remember those who have given so much.
Both holidays were meant to be special days on which the United States and its people would honor those who fought and/or died in all the wars in our country’s history, for which these special days are now known. Although this is still the thought and practice for many people, over time thinking about our fighting men and women on these days has become much less important, having been replaced by visits to the mall or to the beach or staying at home and enjoying barbeques or video games during the long weekends. With U.S. military personnel serving all over the world–especially in far-away places like Afghanistan–and with the news of the demise of Osama bin Laden at the beginning of this month, a real sense of patriotism is in order for this Memorial Day. Certainly having fun with family and friends and enjoying the warmer weather during the holiday weekend is a great thing. But let us not forget how wonderful it is to have the freedoms we cherish in this country, thanks to those who came before us and those who continue to serve in our armed forces. That’s what these holidays are all about.