Memorial Day with Kids by Jessie Weaver

 

 

I’m not sure how much I really thought about why we have Memorial Day until a few years ago, when one of my best friends from childhood lost her little brother to the Iraq War. Just 23, Jeffrey was 15 days away from returning from his second tour of duty when his vehicle was struck with a grenade.

I flew with my tiny baby girl back to Virginia to attend his funeral. What else could I do to honor this young man—whom I had known from the time he was a silly, elementary-school kid—who gave his life for our country?

The last few Memorial Days, then, have brought about entirely different feelings. As my kids grow, I want to teach them what the day is truly for: honoring those men and women who gave their lives in combat.

While I feel like mine are too young to really understand war and death (1 and 3 years old), it’s not too early to instill some patriotism into them! Here are some ideas for honoring Memorial Day with your kids.

  • Visit a wounded or recovering soldier at a VA hospital. Bring treats or flowers and a homemade card.
  • Take flowers to the gravestone of a soldier killed on duty.
  • Make Memorial Day poppies.
  • Attend a local parade.
  • Make an American flag craft and talk about the sybolism of the flag.
  • Have a family prayer for those who have lost parents, siblings, and friends in battle.

Do you commemorate Memorial Day with your children? How?

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