Tuesday, May 20, 2014
1. Find a cool and creative way to display the words "Home of the Free Because of the Brave" in or around your home this Memorial Day weekend.2. Have your children dress in red, white and blue and explain why it's appropriate!
3. Get some red, white, and blue balloons and release them as a family to the sky with a "thank you" note attached, to remember all who sacrificed for our security and freedom today.
3. Have your kids help you make a book or chart of all the service veterans in your family.
4. Find one of the many documentaries on Netflix about the different branches of the military and the training involved in becoming a soldier. There is one specifically about Arlington National Cemetery that is very family-friendly.
5. Visit a cemetery. This may sound like a morbid activity to do with children but Memorial Day is the most beautiful time of year to visit because of all the flowers placed there. Some of the oldest veteran graves no longer receive visitors or flowers so you can bring flowers to place there. This is a powerful way to teach your children what this holiday is all about.
Monday, May 19, 2014
In the first 150 years or so after America's birth, July 4th was a holiday not just for celebrating our heritage but for remembering it as well. Older generations of Americans were deeply concerned that young people would not appreciate all that had gone into building this nation.
That is why in between parades, picnics, and fireworks, 18th and 19th Century Americans also gave long, passionate speeches about the war, made remembrance toasts to war heroes, and sang patriotic hymns that told these stories as well. July 4th was often referred to then as the "nation's political sabbath". There was a sacred and pure quality to these celebrations that is absent in many corners of American culture today. This video demonstrates this sad truth all too well.
In times of relative comfort and ease, it is easy to slip into a state of apathy about our heritage. But how much more meaningful would those parades, picnics, and firework shows be if we
dusted off the pages of history to hear about the sweat, blood, and tears that led to this nation's birth? This year, learn the stories on Netflix, You Tube, or even the good old-fashioned library. Then, share those stories with your family and make a commitment to NEVER forget.