By Alkesh Patel LPC, CSAC, CEO
This upcoming weekend brings one of the United States’ most important remembrance holidays: Memorial Day. Always observed on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day and began in the years following the civil war. However, it only became an official federal holiday in 1971. Today, we celebrate Memorial Day as a way to thank our military members. We hold family gatherings, participate in parades, and visit cemeteries and memorials. Most Americans think of it as the event that marks the summer kickoff.
Yet, as American-Romanian author Elie Wiesel says, “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no future.”
Our ability to remember our past military members and thank our current service members is one of the unifying factors that holds us together as one great nation. We are the home of the free because of the brave, and we can all contribute to the fight for freedom in different ways.
As a behavioral health provider, our agency continues to support military families in difficult times. As you know, over one-quarter or more of our child population that we serve has a connection to a military service member. Furthermore, each of our leadership team has a loved one or know someone that is currently serving our country. Military service is something close to our hearts because we see those who are impacted by the daily sacrifice that takes place. It isn’t easy on the individuals serving or their families, but we can do our part by honoring them on these important days.
If you want to do your part as well, here are some thoughtful ways that you can celebrate Memorial Day 2020.
- Pause at 3 PM. According to the National Moment of Remembrance resolution, 3 PM is the official time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by service members. Stop wherever you are and whatever you’re doing to reflect and remember.
- Display the U.S. flag. Memorial Day is a national day of mourning, so fly the flag at half-staff from sunrise until noon and then raised to full-staff after 12 PM for living veterans. If you don’t have a large flagpole in front of your house, you can also line your yard with smaller flags. Kids love to help with this task!
- Make a financial donation. Veteran agencies and national military organizations are always in need of financial support. Find a wounded troop service, military social service or military family support organization to donate money to this Memorial Day.
In other years, you may have been planning to attend a parade or large gathering. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, these gatherings are unlikely. Don’t let that impact your ability to celebrate the important service members in our country. You can still do your part with the above steps while social distancing.