Memorial Day marks the start of the summer. If you are federal employee, it is one of the 10 paid holidays that you receive during the course of the year.
You may want to use the day off to hit the beach or visit a favorite vacation spot, or you may choose to stay at home and enjoy a cookout with friends and family.
There are many other ways to celebrate Memorial Day. Harris Federal has come up with a list of five ideas that we think are very fitting for the holiday, which falls on Monday, May 25, this year – a few days earlier than usual.
Learn about the history of Memorial Day.
You can read a detailed history of the holiday at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. As you will learn, it traces back to the aftermath of the Civil War – and the concept actually is one that comes from ancient Greece. Today, Memorial Day serves as a way of honoring those who have died in American wars.
Note: The National Moment of Remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day. People are encouraged to spend a moment of silence in tribute to all of those who have fallen in the service of our country.
Watch a movie.
While movies depicting the war are not always factually accurate, they are a form of art that help us to better understand the challenges faced by soldiers and the sacrifices that so many individuals and families have made over the years.
A Gawker columnist actually has come up with a list of compelling films depicting American wars – culled from “Netflix’s Instant Watch options.” The list includes everything from A Farewell to Arms in 1932 to The Messenger in 2009.
But please make sure to get outdoors and enjoy the summer weather – don’t spend your whole day in front of the TV!
Attend a Memorial Day parade.
Go online and check local newspapers or community calendars to learn about a Memorial Day parade near you. It is great way to show your patriotism and your support for those who have lost loved ones in wars.
Of course, the biggest Memorial Day parade in the country will be held in Washington, D.C. According to the American Veterans Center, the parade has been growing since it was launched in 2005. Today, it is broadcast around the world to our troops. You can read more details here.
Visit a local memorial site.
Those who work in Harris Federal’s office in Washington, D.C., are fortunate to have so many museums and memorials in our area. If you live near the nation’s capital, you should visit these sites. You could also visit Arlington National Cemetery in honor of those who died in American military conflicts.
If you do not live near Washington, D.C., you can visit a veterans’ memorial site in your local community. Many of these memorials honor those who served in specific conflicts, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located near our firm’s office in Lexington, Kentucky, or the Korean War Veterans Memorial located near our Austin, Texas, office.
Volunteer for veterans.
You can honor living veterans as well by participating in any number of volunteer activities. Check out the Disabled American Veterans website for examples. As you can see, whether you are donating your time at a local veterans’ hospital or helping a veteran to get groceries, your volunteer service is much appreciated.