4 Ways to Really Celebrate Memorial Day

Memorial Day might be the unofficial start of summer and when the locals know it’s time to avoid Highway 98 as much as possible, but there’s much more to the holiday than barbecues and beaches. Living so close to Eglin AFB, Duke Field, and Hurlburt Field, we’re no stranger to the sacrifices our military members and their families make on our behalf every day. Memorial Day is different, though. This is the day we honor those who’ve died protecting our freedom.

 

Before you head to Crab Island, rent a pontoon, or fire up the grill, here are a few things you can do honor the fallen on Memorial Day.

 

A Moment of Silence

 

In 2000, Congress passed a law that said a moment of silence and remembrance is to be observed at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. You don’t have to do anything elaborate. Set a timer on your phone, and when it goes off, take a moment to say a silent thanks to those who gave their lives for ours. This is a good opportunity to teach your children and grandchildren about that sacrifice, too.

 

Fly the Flag

 

On Memorial Day, the flag is to be flown at half mast until noon and then raised until sundown. If you’ve been meaning to get a flag for your front yard or your office has a flagpole, this is a good day to take care of it. Lower the flag on a pole to half mast to recognize the soldiers who’ve died. Put out an American flag at home to show your patriotism and support for our troops.

 

Honor the Deceased

 

The original celebration of Memorial Day (known then as Decoration Day) was a time to place flowers on the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War. These days, you can usually find a group or two putting flowers and flags on the graves of service members during Memorial Day weekend. You can join them or you can attend the Memorial Day Ceremony at Beal Memorial Cemetery where military members and veterans who have died since Veterans Day are remembered, as are other deceased military members.

 

Run or Walk on Eglin

 

Every year, Eglin Air Force Base is home to the Memorial Day Gate to Gate Run. Put on your sneakers and your sunscreen for a good cause. This isn’t a typical 5K as the race is 4.4 miles long, and if you don’t already have access to Eglin AFB, you have to sign up early to gain access. You’ll also have an opportunity mid-race to stop and leave a flower on the memorial site to show your respects to the fallen.

 

It doesn’t take as much effort or time as you think to remember what Memorial Day is all about. Thank a military servicemember or veteran when you see them. Buy them a cup of coffee. Remember those who gave all to keep us free. And then hit the beach or the backyard and have a good time!

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