Memorial Day :: It’s Greater than a Bar-B-Que

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As a child, I remember Memorial Day as the official start to summer. Every year our family honored the long weekend with a road trip to The Farm. The next few days were filled with blackberries over warm biscuits, the freedom of wide open spaces, playing outside from sunrise to sunset, and spending time with my favorite veteran and his wife. (I know you aren’t supposed to pick favorites in a family of veterans, but there is no denying it!) My great-grandfather, Abe Parker Moore, served in the Navy during World War I and World War II. My Paw Paw taught me the most powerful statements are seen and not heard, the value of hard work, and to have a grateful heart for the country many Americans died to protect.

As parents, we want our children to understand Memorial Day, its history, and how to honor the heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice. So before you fire up the grill or head to the lake, take time to commemorate Memorial Day with your family and teach your children its true meaning.

Educate with Stories

Literature is powerful! Books are a wonderful tool to help children (and adults!) understand topics that might otherwise be difficult to explain. Visit your local library and ask the librarian for age-appropriate recommendations on topics such as patriotism, military heroes, and freedom. Every May, our favorite library, The Library in the Forest, showcases Memorial Day books in the children’s section. I bet your favorite library does the same!

Some of our favorite Memorial Day books include:

  • Memorial Day Surprise by Theresa Martin Golding
  • The Wall by Eve Bunting
  • Don’t Forget: God Bless our Troops by Jill Biden

Recognize our Heroes

I’m certain our boys are not alone in their love of medals and trophies. Teaching our children about the U.S. military medals of honor is a great way for them to grasp and recognize true heroes. We share stories on how men and women are awarded with the highest U.S. military decorations. For a fun and educational activity, print out medal of honor color pages and use coloring time to describe how each medal is awarded. (A simple Google or Pinterest search will direct you to great free printables.)

Honor the Fallen

Participating in a ceremony, tribute, or historical re-enactment can be a powerful learning experience. Such events showcase the honor and respect our heroes deserve and the reverence we want the next generation to learn. 

Moment of Silence

Wherever your family gathers this Memorial Day, take a moment of silence or prayer to observe the National Moment of Remembrance. On May 25th at 3:00 p.m. (your local time), the Moment of Remembrance is held across our great country. Pause your activities for this one minute of silence to reflect and remember our fallen heroes.

          As my Paw Paw taught me, the most powerful statements are seen, not heard.

Spencer, at age 4, wearing my great-grandfather’s Navy uniform.

May your Memorial Day be greater than a bar-b-que, a day at the lake, or a beach weekend. Gather your families with grateful hearts, share stories from books or your own family’s service, and remember the ultimate sacrifice paid by men, women, and their families so that we can enjoy the freedom they earned for us. 

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Kathryn returns to Birmingham Moms Blog as a guest writer after being part of the contributing team while living in the area. After attending Mississippi State University, she married her high-school sweetheart, and they moved back home (Birmingham) to attend medical school and graduate school at UAB. Their first house was a 1920’s bungalow in Avondale that they renovated before Pinterest and Joanna Gaines. Home renovation would become a hobby or obsession, some might say, in every city they lived. After moving to North Carolina and Mississippi, they returned to Birmingham in 2015, as a family of four. Kathryn and her husband James lived in the Liberty Park community with their two boys and two adopted pups. In 2017, Kathryn's shift from a traditional careerwoman in hospital administration to a work-from-home entrepreneur was equal parts thrilling and frightening. Kathryn has pursued her passion for clean living by partnering with Beautycounter, a clean beauty movement, and she loves having the ability to build a business while simultaneously having a significant social impact. In 2019, their family relocated to Tuscaloosa where they are now renovating yet another home. You can often find Kathryn at a ball field, either cheering for her two boys or passionately ringing a cowbell at a Mississippi State game. (Hail State!)