Yeah, I know someone may have already preached at you about this. That’s not my aim.  I want to offer some painless and constructive ways to remember what Memorial Day is about as you enjoy the long weekend. I wholeheartedly feel that, like voting, remembering those who have fought for our country is a responsibility that comes with sharing in the fruits of their terrible labors.

No matter what your politics or your feelings about US military endeavors, the fact is that Americans enjoy unparalleled freedoms thanks to those who fought to create this country and keep it this way.

Some organizations that are dedicated to preserving the memory of our veterans suggest ways to observe Memorial Day, including going to cemeteries to place flags and flowers on the graves of deceased vets, lowering the flag to half-mast until noon, visiting veteran memorials, playing Taps and observing a moment of silence, and visiting a vet at a retirement home or VA hospital. These are commendable endeavors, certainly.

I don’t know about you, but with my schedule, I don’t think I’ll be doing any of these things this Memorial Day. (I have in the past, but never on this day. Besides, if everyone did all this at once, think about how crowded these places would get!)

Here are some ultra-easy ideas that will help keep the meaning behind this observance at top of mind.

  • Remember some of the pivotal contributions of the American military by reading about them. This brief About.com compilation is an easy way to start.
  • Honor the fallen heroes by supporting today’s troops:
  • It may seem hokey, but take just a minute at the start of your barbecue or other long-weekend celebration to say thanks … just ask everyone at the party to toast those who ultimately made the occasion possible.

To learn more about the history of Memorial Day, check out this parks service site and this article on Wikipedia.

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