Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, is meant to be a day for remembrance. The holiday began shortly after the Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day. Families and friends would gather to decorate the graves of the soldiers, a tradition that still lives on with many Americans bringing wreaths or flags to honor those who gave their lives in service to their country. Over time, the day became a federal holiday and expanded to recognize all those who died in military service through the years. While the holiday has also come to mark the beginning of summer, it remains a good opportunity for families to take the time to remember those who sacrificed so much for so many.

For more on the history of Memorial Day, view this CBS interview with Kenneth C. Davis, author of the Don’t Know Much About History series:

Below are five ways your family can honor our fallen service men this weekend, you may even want to make some of these activities a new annual tradition. If you have any special memorial day plans or traditions please share them in the comments!

1. Visit a Memorial

Visiting memorials or battlefields are a great way to learn about history. Discover the opportunities in your area in our Best American Landmarks series.

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2. Memorial Day Crafts

Making Memorial Day-themed crafts with your kids can be a great way for them to get involved. Be sure to check our Pinterest board for more summer activities.

 

Image via Living On Love and Cents

3. Attend a Parade or Fireworks Display

Every year, there are parades commemorating the troops, which is a great way to get outdoors and honor those who served. Be sure to check your local district for the parade or firework display near you.

Image via The U.S. Army

4. Send a Letter or Care Package

Remember that there are active service members, and take the time to send a letter or care package to those deployed.

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5. Watch an Educational Movie

Learning history is a good way to pay tribute to those who served in defense of our nation. Choose a film from our best movies for teaching American History series.

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Featured Image – The U.S. Army / CC by 2.o

 

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