Rarely do we hear the words “Memorial Day” without being followed by the words, “sale” or “cookout.”  Although I am happy to partake in either of those events, I am hoping I can teach my kids that Memorial Day is more than just a day off school or work.

I think it is fairly simple to explain to them that “memorial” is a way to remember. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the military forces of the USA. Whether it be fortunate or unfortunate, many children have no clue about the men and women who protect our country on a daily basis. This is a great time to share with them our respect for these individuals as well as the ones who have lost their lives.

According to www.military.com, “the primary mission of course is to defend the U.S. and U.S. interests.” But the website also points out that our armed forces do much more than fight. Share these other examples with your children:

  • Rescue operations
  • Medical assistance in impoverished areas
  • Food & humanitarian relief
  • Security at embassies and other locations
  • Policing in volatile areas
  • Natural disaster relief
  • Law enforcement
  • Piracy and drug interdiction

On Memorial Day, people often visit cemeteries and memorials to honor those who have died in the service. American Flags are flown with pride today and are often placed on gravesides. Many cities also have parades to promote patriotism.

Today is a great day to teach your children about the flag of the United States. There are conflicting facts on the meaning of the flag as far as colors go, but after some research I found that most agree with the book “Our Flag” published in 1989 by the House of Representatives. It states that “The color white signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, vigilance, perseverance & justice.” The colors originally were meant for the Seal of the United States, but evolved to include meaning for the flag as well. Most children probably already know that the alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 British colonies, while the stars represent each state.

I encourage each of you to take just five minutes, pull your kids over to the computer and share these facts. Ask them what all of this means to them.

Now that you’re kids have had a history lesson  –  go enjoy your hamburgers, sales at the mall and swimming pools and spread your knowledge to others!

Thank you veterans!

*Bullet point notes taken from www.military.com.