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Honoring our fallen heroes on Memorial Day

Memorial Day, to many, is a time of family gatherings, picnics and backyard BBQs.  But to those who want to do more on this day of remembrance, there is plenty to do to honor our fallen heroes:

Honor the flag – For many years, it has been tradition to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flags on Memorial Day.   If you don’t personally know a fallen warrior to honor, you can put a flag in your own yard.  That flag and the freedoms it represents has been in the forefront of the minds of our fallen heroes, so remember to treat the flag respectfully. Don’t let it touch the ground or get dirty.  It is also traditional and thoughtful to keep a flag lowered at half-staff during this day of remembrance; while not everyone knows a fallen soldier, to many, this day is a painful reminder of the loved ones they have lost.

Visit a national cemetery – You don’t have to know a fallen soldier personally to still be impacted by his or her sacrifice. Arlington National Cemetery may be the most well known, but there are over 139 national cemeteries all around the country.  Tallahassee’s national cemetery is the nearest to Madison.  The Tallahassee National Cemetery is located at 5015 Apalachee Parkway.  Bring your children too; make it a learning moment as you show them how to respectfully leave flowers and flags on the graves and discuss the history and importance behind Memorial Day.

Thank a soldier or veteran – Memorial Day is about honoring the dead, but it can also be used to grow closer to those still with us.   Visit a local retirement, nursing home or assisted care facility and spend time with the veterans there, or send a care package to a soldier who is still deployed overseas. OperationGratitude.com is a good source to find ways to send care packages or letters to soldiers who are currently deployed.

Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance - In an effort to restore Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be, the National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute). The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.

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