Memorial Day: A Catalyst for Learning, Gratitude, and Kindness

Memorial Day: A Catalyst for Learning,
Gratitude, and Kindness

REMEMBRANCE

Red poppies are associated with Memorial Day. Do you know why? Find out in this article, The Significance of Poppies and download this worksheet to supplement learning with young children.

History: What is Memorial Day? According to usmemorialday.org, Memorial Day “started off as a somber day of remembrance; a day when Americans went to cemeteries and placed flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It was a day to remember ancestors, family members, and loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice… But now, too many people ‘celebrate’ the day without more than casual thought to the purpose and meaning of the day. How do we honor the 1.8 million that gave their lives for America since 1775? How do we thank them for their sacrifice?” Learn more about the traditional observance, history, and origins of Memorial Day at www.usmemorialday.org.

Online Resource: Learning about the individuals who served in wartime can have a significant impact on our sense of appreciation as we remember their acts of service. Introduce yourself to the American Vietnam War Veterans who were born on this day/month and those who died on this day/month. How does learning of their age, race, hometown, religion, marital status, length of service, how and where they perished, and reading comments from friends and family, impact your emotional connection to the people who served our country?

Local Cemeteries/Self-Directed Learning: Another way to learn about veterans who served our country is by visiting historic graveyards. In Agawam at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, nearly 10,000 veterans and their dependents have been interred, hosting annual Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day ceremonies. Filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history, local cemeteries can provide visitors with a look deep into the past and even into the lives of those who have served our country. Families wishing to engage in self-guided tours of a historic cemetery can visit Longmeadow’s Olde Burying Yard section of the Longmeadow Cemetery, where a collection of headstones serve as a museum chronicling the town’s history. Some gravestones can be explored via virtual tour, while others must be located in person. Historic Northampton offers virtual tours of the city’s Bridge Street Cemetery, a 300-year-old graveyard that is the final resting place of many notable Northamptonites.

Volunteer Opportunity: Remembering American veteran’s also happens in December with the national program, Wreaths Across America. Look for volunteer opportunities at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Agawam, MA during their annual placement of wreaths which happens on the 3rd Saturday of December.

GRATITUDE Read the rest of this entry »

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