What to do on Memorial Day?
The last Monday in May brings about so many mixed emotions. The weather is warming up and we are spending more time outside. The kids realize school is almost over for the year and excitement is brewing. Graduation invitations come pouring in the mail and I look at photos of young adults about to embark on college who I still see as toddlers in my mind. I ask myself…. where has the time gone?
Yet, for others, time has stopped.
Memorial Day is a day to remember the lives of those lost in duty, those who gave up the ultimate sacrifice. That means so much to me and yet I cannot personally thank them for this – their time has stopped. I felt powerless to know how to participate in Memorial Day with any true and lasting meaning. I had to process the mixed emotions I was feeling as Memorial Day approached, and what I could do about it.
I spent time reflecting and listening to other family’s stories. Our family began serving at an organization that serves weekly meals to Military and their dependents. I supported several friends through relocation and I learned what life is like for families who have lost a loved one. After being intentional to hear their stories, here is what I decided I can do to engage in Memorial Day in a meaningful way:
Ways we Can Engage in Memorial Day
1) We can call someone we know who has lost a loved one in the line of duty during the year. We can thank them for raising a person of such character, or for loving a person of such character, who would lay down their life for others.
2) We can care for and support the family through practical needs during the year. We can send them a gift such as tickets to dinner, a gift card, or a donation to their child’s school tuition.
3) We can donate to a specific fund that supports children and family of the deceased Military men or women.
4) We can live more intentionally. This last one, while the most simplistic, I think might have the most powerful effect. Instead of allowing my life to continue on with my own personal agenda, I can intentionally- for a moment
Remember the sacrifice so many others have made for me.
Reflect on how I can live my life so that each second, minute, month, year that I am still blessed with- is lived out with more intention.
What if every year I earnestly pressed “pause” on the schedule of my life, to intentionally live with more integrity, to support the families around me who have lost loved ones, and to live in a way that daily remembered their sacrifice?
Many people, like myself, did not lose a direct family member in the line of duty. Yet, as a grateful citizen I wanted to engage fully in this day and try and honor the lives of the men and women I wish I could thank personally. Through volunteering with the community throughout the year, I have found that Memorial Day is something we can all participate in, and all engage in together- every second, minute, and every month of the year.
Now when this time of years comes along, and the weather gets warm, and the BBQ’s begin, and the graduation invitations begin to pour in, and I scratch my head and ask- Where did the time go? I can gather around those I love and approach Memorial Day with one emotion: gratitude.
THANK YOU for your Sacrifice
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend” John 15:13
~ Happy Memorial Day ~
Resources we can volunteer time or donate money to that support military families during Memorial Day and all year long:
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: Caring for Families of Fallen Heroes
Operation We Are Here: Military Assistance Year Round
The Dougy Center: National Support for Grieving Children and Families
Local San Diego Organization: USO San Diego
Christian Inspired Gifts: Military Prayer Packages
(Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these organizations, and am not being paid to post their information here)