Many think of Memorial Day as the first holiday weekend to get summer into full swing. We often forget the real significance of the reason for having a Memorial Day. It originally began as Decoration Day and was to honor and decorate the graves of our fallen soldiers. With time the holiday has changed and has became an opportunity to honor and remember our personal family members who have passed away. Planning a Memorial Day observance will take time and research.
Things You Will Need
Names of Relatives
Research your deceased ancestors and relatives. Find out where they are buried. Not all families are buried in the same cemetary. You might need to talk to older family members to compile this information. Determine if the cemetaries are close enough for you to visit. Once you have this information you will need to make a list of the graves that you will be visiting.
Step 2Map out your visits. If you need to travel to different cemetaries you will need to decide if it can be done in one day or take multiple days. If it requires travel, plan ahead for lodging, meals, and transportaion.
Decide on decorations for the graves. Typically flowers are used. If you are going to decorate with flowers you have the option of using silk, plastic or real flowers. Silk and plastic flowers can be removed after the Memorial Day weekend observance and used again in succeeding years. You can purchase bouquets, stems, or pots of flowers. If funds are tight consider using flowers from your garden or flowering tree branches tied with a ribbon.
If you have relatives that were members of the Armed Services it's nice to use a small American flag. Always take a few extra flowers as you often run across relatives that you might have forgotten.
Make this a family activity. The older generation can tell stories about their ancestors to the children as they visit each grave sight. Teach the children how to honor and respect those who came before them. Take a microphone and record the stories for a family history book.
Step 5Take the opportunity to clean the headstones or grave sites if they need it. Plant a tree, flowers, or bushes if the cemetary will allow you to do so. Always check with the cemetary sexton on the rules before doing anything other than general cleaning.
Taking the time for a Memorial Day observance to honor those in the past will remind us and help us appreciate the sacrifices that have been made for us today.
Tips & Warnings
Take your time and enjoy the day. Talk about memories of the family members you visit.
Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.
Have consideration for others while visiting at the cemetaries. This is not the time nor the place for rowdy games or conversation.
Take snacks and water to make the day more enjoyable.
Take photographs of the headstones to put in your family history books. This can help with dates and names.