Memorial Day is more than just a chance to fire up the grill — it’s a day created to honor men and women who have died in military service. It’s an opportunity for kids and families to take some time, whether it’s a few minutes or a full day, to recognize and thank veterans, troops, and their families. You can go to your town’s Memorial Day parade, send a heartfelt letter of thanks, or volunteer your time in honor of those who’ve served. Here are 10 ways for kids and families to recognize and help veterans, military families, and those who’ve lost loved ones this Memorial Day.
Write a thank-you letter to a veteran or current member of the armed forces, whether it’s your grandfather or someone you’ve never met. A Million Thanks makes it easy to send a letter to men and women in the military, and making a card is a fun, hands-on activity for kids of all ages.
Barbecue for the Troops
This year, the USO is encouraging people to host Barbecues for the Troops, backyard fundraising events to support the morale-boosting efforts of the USO. Find out how you can host your own at BBQforthetroops.org.
Support Injured Service Members and Their Families
In Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, over 48,000 service members have sustained physical injuries, with at least 400,000 more facing post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues. The Wounded Warrior Project provides everything from outdoor rehabilitation retreats to career connections.
Visit a Veteran’s Cemetery
One of the most traditional ways to recognize Memorial Day is to visit one of the VA’s National Cemeteries for Memorial Day Ceremony. (You can find a list here.) Others also honor the dead by placing flags and flowers on veterans’ graves.