Memorial Day History and Honoring Those We Lost

Posted 5/18/2020

American flag

Memorial Day is our national day of remembrance honoring those who fought for our freedom; those who gave their lives in service this country. It is a time to pause and remember them with reverence and gratitude. The solemnity of the holiday is though also balanced by the weekend representing the unofficial start of summer. Although so many of us are still wisely staying safe by staying home, there are still many ways to make the weekend special!

The History of Memorial Day: 

Ideas to Honor Those You Know Who Are No Longer With Us: 

  • Honor those in your life who may have died in combat or those who served and are no longer with us. Finding your own way to honor them throughout the weekend by doing things that remind you of them can be meaningful and uplifting. Try watching their favorite TV show, drinking their favorite beer or even listening to their favorite songs. 

Memorializing old photos: (The Science of Happiness)

  • Remembering who was in a photo, what you were doing at the time and who you were doing it with is certainly a trip down Memory Lane.  But did you know that writing about those memories, including what you were feeling at the time) can increase your happiness?  You can also describe the photos on a phone call (or even over FaceTime or Zoom!) friends and loved ones who otherwise would never know that it was you in the crazy gorilla costume that Halloween in 1967!
  • This experience can be meaningful for people at any age at all – particularly as photos amass on our phones – but also in revisiting those photos found in that box sitting in the back of the closet.
  • “According to a study conducted at the University of Colorado, people who looked at their old photographs and then wrote about why they were meaningful reported increased levels of happiness.”

Memorial Day-related Movies: 

  • Create your own drive-in theater by setting up an old bed sheet, a projector, some cushions and outdoor chairs for a cozy movie night in the backyard.  If that’s a bit much, you can find a 3-minute montage of such movies as Gardens of Stone, A Bridge Too Far, The Longest Day, Black Hawk Down, A Farewell to Arms, Saving Private Ryan, by clicking AARP.

The Memorial Day Concert:

  • Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday at 8 p.m. EST which will be broadcast by PBS. The concert will feature performances and tributes filmed from around the country to honor the troops and our veterans.

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