Before launching into all the glue sticks and glitter, let me offer some deeper background that you can use in talking with your kids about the purpose of Memorial Day.
It was originally called Decoration Day and was born out of the heavy loss both the North and South experienced as a result of the Civil War. The first observance was on May 30th, 1868 by General John Logan, National Commander, who asked people to decorate the graves of those who have died in defense of their country. (The day was specifically chosen because no battles had been fought on that day.) Red poppies are traditionally worn on Memorial Day, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields”:.
“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
The Remembrance Poppy has spread to become a world-wide symbol to commemorate all service men and women who have been killed in conflicts, being used in other countries such as the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. Although many of us look forward to Memorial Day for the epic sales, backyard barbecues, and boozy summer cocktails, it’s important to remember what the holiday is truly about: honoring the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. With just a bit of planning, it’s easy to include this meaning in your holiday schedule, and family members of all ages can have fun doing it.
Before you fire up the grill for your family’s afternoon BBQ, get everyone involved in these kid-friendly Memorial Day activities, ranging from a quick history lesson to a simple poppy craft, to remind young and old why we celebrate this Monday in May..