How to honor the veterans in your life this Memorial Day

Posted: May 23, 2024 | Word Count: 612

Memorial Day is about more than just kicking off summer with a backyard barbecue. It's a day of respect and remembrance that honors the men and women who have given their lives while serving this country and the devastating loss shouldered by their families, friends, and communities when their service member didn't come home.

As we're honoring our family members who have died serving this country, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) would like us all to be mindful that it can also be a tough day for veterans who made it back home, because they're remembering the fallen friends they served with.

WWP™, founded 20 years ago, is dedicated to supporting military veterans, their families, and caregivers through life-saving programs and services in mental health, financial wellness, connection, advocacy, long-term rehabilitative care, and more.

The organization shared a few ways to honor veterans and their families on Memorial Day, and every day.

Be sensitive. By all means, enjoy that Memorial Day barbecue and relax with your loved ones, just be mindful that it may be a tough day for veterans, service members, and their families.

Reflect on freedom. People go into the military to serve this country and defend our freedoms. But many of us may not realize the sacrifice they and their families make for those freedoms.

Take part in a Memorial Day tradition. Whether it's wearing red poppies or attending a parade, get involved in the real meaning of the day. If you have friends or family who have fallen in the line of duty, it's a great day to place a wreath, flowers, or a plant on their grave to show respect.

Observe the National Moment of Remembrance. Signed into law by Bill Clinton in 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance Act was intended to provide a way for the entire country to come together to honor fallen heroes on Memorial Day. The goal is to remind Americans about the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families, and provide a single act of unity for the entire country. At 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, observe one minute of silence to honor these brave men and women. If you're behind the wheel, turn on your lights.

Wear red, white, and blue but not the flag. Many people aren't aware that the flag is not supposed to be worn as a fashion statement. Show your patriotism by wearing red, white, and blue! Memorial Day is the day to fly the flag outside your home.

Teach your children. Talk to your children about family members who have served in the military and about what Memorial Day really means. Don't know quite where to start? Check your local library or bookstore for books about Memorial Day, and make it a tradition to read that book to your child every year. Chances are, they'll carry on that tradition when they have children of their own.

Support friends and family who are veterans. One way to do that is to spread the word about WWP. Many veterans may not know about all of the services this organization provides to wounded post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families. Because of generous donations from the public, warriors never pay a penny for any of the services WWP provides.

At Wounded Warrior Project, they know every warrior has a next mission. The transition to civilian life is a journey, and for every warrior, family member and caregiver, that journey looks different, whether they came home from serving our country 20 years ago or yesterday.

This Memorial Day, honor the veterans in your life and support organizations who serve them, like WWP if you're able.

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