5 Ways To Teach Your Child Why Memorial Day is Important
Many children know what Memorial Day means – a day off from school! While getting a day to enjoy the beautiful May weather is a reason to celebrate, it is also important to remember why Memorial Day is important. This federal holiday is a great opportunity to teach your children about duty, honor and patriotism.
Here are some activities that you can do as a family to help teach your child why Memorial Day is important:
1) Play With History
Although many children (and parents) might not enjoy reading out of a history book, who doesn’t like to play? Choose a history lesson (e.g. the Civil War) and prepare a script for each of your family members, giving them each an important role to play.
Narrator (Dad): It was a hot morning on the 21th of July 1861 and it was quiet, too quiet. But there was a feeling of electricity in the air as Brigadier General Irvin McDowell, sat on top of his tall horse with his first officer riding beside him.
1st Officer (Johnny): These boots are too tight! When can we go home?
McDowell (Suzie): My orders came down directly from President Lincoln to end this war quickly. This battle will put an end to things and we will be home before you know it.
Take your family out to a field or meadow (maybe by a river) in order to really set the scene.
2) Go to a Memorial Day Service
One way to show support for those who have died protecting our country is to attend a Memorial Day service. There are opportunities to listen to poems and prayers about those fallen in battle. Children may not want to stand still for the services now, but as an adult, they will look back on the Memorial Day services with fond memories. Hearing stories from veterans, who have witnessed the horrors of war, puts little problems we have in our life into perspective. We live in a free and beautiful country.
3) Learn a Patriotic Song Together
There are many beautiful songs with strong lyrics that speak to what has made this country great. Pick a patriotic song and print the lyrics so that everyone can look at them. While learning it, your children will certainly have some questions with some of the words surrounding duty, honor or patriotism. Here are just a few examples of songs to take a look at:
- God Bless America
- American Soldier
- Battle Hymn of the Republic
- America the Beautiful
- My Country Tis of Thee
- You’re a Grand Old Flag
4) Learn about your Family’s Military Heritage
Get out the old photos and have a look at the people in your family who have served in the U.S. Military. Tell your children about family members, or people that you know who have served in the Military. This will help the realization of people who served become personal for your children. You could even teach them about the different branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy) and teach them a little bit about how each one was established.
5) Observe the Silent Tradition
Even if your family has fun weekend plans, you can still honor the tradition of Memorial Day by pausing for one minute at 3:00 pm (local time) to remember those who have died in service of their country. Have a talk with your children about what to think about during this one minute if they have never done this before. Setting aside one minute to think about the lives lost in service is a great reminder for all of us to remember the sacrifices it took to make this country free.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend". John 15:13
We hope you enjoy Memorial Day and take the opportunity to teach your children why Memorial Day is important.