For many kids today, the real meaning behind Memorial Day is lost. They know that they get a three day weekend, they may know about all the huge sales going on during this time, and they also know that school is about over when this holiday rolls around. However, Memorial Day is a lot more than just a day off from school and kids need to be taught about this day and the meaning behind it. Finding ways to teach kids about the significant of Memorial Day and how important it is to honor those who have protected the freedom of this country is important. Here is a look at some great suggestions that will help you teach your kids about this important holiday.
Teach Your Child the History of Memorial Day
The first thing you should do is teach your child about the history of Memorial Day. Many kids do not know the history behind the day, and you may even be rusty on the history that led to this day becoming a national holiday.
The history of Memorial Day goes all the way back to 1866, right after the nation was recovering from the Civil war. Both the North and the South saw soldiers coming home with serious injuries and many towns had lost friends and loved ones to this store. In Waterloo, New York, a drugstore owner named Henry Welles came up with the idea that on one day all the shops would close down to honor those who had been killed during the war. It was May 5th that everyone in the town went to the graves of those in the local cemetery and put out flowers and crosses on their graves. A similar ceremony was planned by Retired Major General Jonathan A. Logan, which was for soldiers that had survived the Civil War. He took veterans through town to decorate the graves of comrades with flags. It was a memorial, not a celebration, and it was called Decoration Day.
Decoration Day was proclaimed by Logan to be a day for decorating the graves of those who had died defending the country. These two ceremonies were joined together to be one in 1868. ON these days songs were sung, veterans would wear their uniforms and medals, veterans would go to cemeteries to remember the fallen, and town people would decorate graves with flags, flowers, and photos.
It was not until 1882 that the name Memorial Day was actually used and the day was made to be a remembrance to all soldiers who had died fighting for this country. President Nixon would then declare it a federal holiday in 1971, to be on the very last Monday in the month of May. Still today though, Waterloo, New York is considered to be the birthplace of this holiday.READ More on Teaching Children About Memorial Day