5 Fast Things to Know About Memorial Day

A soldier walks on a path through the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund flag garden. (Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP)
A soldier walks on a path through the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund flag garden. (Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP)

It’s Memorial Day weekend and that means more than the unofficial start of summer. First and foremost, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have given their lives in military service to the United States. Here are ways to do that and other options for enjoying the long weekend.

How to remember veterans’ sacrifices

Americans can pay their respects in a number of ways, whether attending a parade, sharing on Facebook the image and story of a loved one who served, or simply taking a moment to bow their heads at a barbecue. A good time for that would be 3 p.m., the National Moment of Remembrance, when millions will pause in silence to reflect on the heroism and sacrifice of our service members.

Whether visiting a loved one’s grave or simply paying general respects, many people also go to cemeteries, memorials and monuments to place flags or flowers (this is why Memorial Day was previously known as Decoration Day). Towns and homes also typically fly American flags at half mast until noon.

How to help military families

In addition to honoring the fallen, many people also take the opportunity to contribute to surviving veterans and military families. The following veteran-related organizations have 4-star ratings based on their financial health, accountability and transparency on CharityNavigator.org:

  • Homes for Our Troops
  • Hope for the Warriors
  • Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
  • Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
  • Navy SEAL Foundation
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • Operation Homefront
  • Operation Support Our Troops – America
  • Our Military Kids
  • Wounded Warriors Family Support
  • Special Operations Warrior Foundation

How to throw an awesome barbecue

For many, Memorial Day weekend marks their first opportunity of the year to fire up the grill. Hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie are the staples.

But you can set your fete apart by offering charred and crispy veggies for appetizers, homemade ketchup and aioli to jazz up the main dishes, and grilled angel food cake with seasonal fruit for dessert.

Click here for more.

SOURCE: USA Today – Anne Godlasky

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