Memorial Day 2020 has been a difficult one to say the least. On a day when spending time with family and friends is the traditional way to remember those who have passed, we instead found ourselves continuing to social distance and, for some, mourning the loss of those who have perished in this invisible war against COVID-19. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but in these uncertain times, shouldn’t every day be devoted to remembering those who are serving our country in various capacities?
Things may look different right now and the future of our “new normal” is uncertain, but we are proud Americans. On Memorial Day and every day, we honor those who have fallen while in military service, fighting for our freedom and serving as true examples of honorable leadership of this country. The holiday may be passed, but we encourage you to extend the ways in which you salute the past as we continue to march onward as a united front.
Keep resting places beautiful
No matter your religion or beliefs, everyone who passes on is laid to rest in some form or fashion. Whether ashes are spread in a favorite location or a graveside service is held at a Memorial Park, our veterans deserve to be honored with a beautiful place for family and friends to return to. Consider planting flowers, adding a flag or two, or adorning the site with meaningful items.
Salute the past by honoring the present
On Memorial Day, we honor those service men and women who have died. On Veteran’s Day, we honor not only the veterans who have passed, but those who continue to fight for our country. There are days to honor brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers – even pets. We are the legacy of those who have come before. Let’s honor them by treasuring the family and friends that we have before us. Mend rifts, share your love and show your appreciation each and every day with a nod to a cherished loved one.
Never stop remembering
If you have children or if you provide care or mentorship to one, it is important to share the stories of those who have passed. Sit down with a young person and explain to them the importance of our men and women in uniform. If there are individuals in your family who have served or are currently serving, do something special to honor them through conversation, photos and activities (see our LEAP Foundation DC column here for some great ideas). The important thing is to share our history and keep the legacy going.
So many of our veterans are facing mental illnesses, like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you or someone you know could use some extra support or just need someone to talk to, the resources are endless. Being a listening ear for someone who served could help the individual get through another sleepless night, it could give them the encouragement to keep marching on and it could help them overcome the challenges they may be facing.