This Memorial Day, and always, we REMEMBER, HONOR, and TEACH about those who have served and sacrificed for our freedoms and for the families they left behind.
Now, as many communities around our country cancel traditional plans, it is perhaps more important than ever that we take the time to observe Memorial Day in the spirit it was intended. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is not “the unofficial start of summer” as so many believe, but is a day for remembering all men and women who have died in military service for the United States.
You may be concerned that the sacrifice made by those brave men and women will go unnoticed this year if your community has to cancel Memorial Day observations or limit attendance at ceremonies. That doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some ways you can continue to REMEMBER and HONOR this Memorial Day:
Say Their Names.
When a volunteer places a wreath on a veteran’s grave on National Wreaths Across America Day, we encourage them to speak that veteran’s name aloud, thank them for their service and sacrifice, and reflect on that person and their life. This solemn and moving moment is one of the most important aspects of National Wreaths Across America Day. In fact, we encourage our volunteers at every participating location to perform this action for every veteran, even if they do not have a wreath dedicated to each veteran at their location.
This Memorial Day, consider taking a similar moment to honor the fallen veterans in your community by sharing their names or stories. This is a simple action that can easily be performed virtually if you are unable to hold in-person events in your community. Try creating a short video and sharing it on social media or encourage families in your community to contribute photos, names, and stories of the veterans in their lives.
Honor a Loved One Through the Remembrance Tree Program.
Wreaths Across America established the Veteran’s Remembrance Tree Program as another way to remember and honor our veterans. In Columbia Falls, Maine, where the balsam tips are harvested each year to be made into the wreaths that are placed on veteran’s graves, Gold Star Families may participate in the Remembrance Tree Program by finding a tree that will become a living memorial to their loved one and placing a customized dog tag on the trunk of the evergreen tree. These trees are kept in production and their balsam tips are harvested every three years and made into veterans’ wreaths that are placed each December. Participation in this program is FREE and open to all families who have had a loved one in the military.
Give the Gift of Remembrance.
With every $15 veteran’s wreath sponsorship, you have the opportunity to dedicate it “In Memory Of” a friend or loved one who served. In addition to placing the wreaths each December on National Wreaths Across America day, Wreaths Across America hosts a virtual “ Remember Wall” for each participating location. You can post photos, memories and personal messages on these pages as a year-round display of remembrance.
To further honor our veterans this year, we’ll be sharing a selection of the “Remember Wall” messages on the Wreaths Across America Official social media pages over the coming days/weeks. If you’d like to participate, start your sponsorship here or search for the Wreaths Across America location you wish to support.
No matter how you remember and honor this weekend, we hope you do so with gratitude for those who were willing to sacrifice for this country and all who call her home of the free…because of the brave.
Remember. Honor. Teach. #AmericaStrong