This coming Monday, May, 31st is the last Monday in May and the day selected to observe Memorial Day in the US. After researching the history of Memorial Day and the intent behind the observance of the day, I found that it was founded in the 1860’s by General John A Logan to honor the soldiers in the Civil War, and it was initially called “Decoration Day” (to honor our fallen soldiers by “decorating” their graves) . It became an official Federal holiday in 1971, and sometime before that date it was changed from May 30th, to the first Monday in May.
While we are all out celebrating this Memorial Day weekend with weekend trips, BBQ’s and days at the lake, let’s also remember the history behind the observance of this day. Take some time to visit the grave of a fallen hero, attend a memorial or a parade, or just sit quietly and remember those who have or currently dedicate their service to our country.
Here are some other ways to observe Memorial Day this year…
- If you can’t make it to the gravesite, plant some flowers in your yard or in an indoor pot in honor of a fallen soldier.
- Hang a US flag outside your home. If you don’t have a flag, here is an easy way to incorporate the kids to make your own: Use a simple white box or bag (such as an empty Amazon bag or box or an empty cereal box painted white), Paint stars on the upper left and stripes across (or you can be even more creative and hot glue red pipe cleaners for the stripes) (If displaying an actual cloth flag, make sure to follow the proper etiquette for displaying a US flag.)
- Start your own neighborhood parade and show the kids how to decorate their bikes and wagons with some fun patriotic ideas. (Do you remember using playing cards in our bike spokes??)
- Consider visiting a business owned by a veteran or military family.
- Consider watching the Memorial Day Concert, hosted every Sunday before Memorial Day, aired on PBS. You can go to: https://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/ for more information.
- Wear a red poppy, traditionally worn as a sign of remembrance. (Did you know the Friday before Memorial Day is considered National Poppy Day?)
- Donate to a local non-profit organization that celebrates all things military.
- Sit down with your kids and write a letter to active American soldiers and veterans. Read here for more info on how.. https://amillionthanks.org/letter/
- Find some red, white and blue chalk and use your talent to create some beautiful artwork on your driveway!
- Pop some popcorn and watch a patriotic movie with family and friends. Some great movies are: Black Hawk Down, The Hurt Locker, Glory, Forrest Gump, Hacksaw Ridge, The American President, Hidden Figures, Saving Private Ryan, Independence Day, Patton, and many others…
- Are you making a dessert for a celebration you’re attending? Why not make two and drop one off at the home of a veteran?
- DIY some fun red, white and blue decorations. Here are some ideas: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/g27421196/memorial-day-decorations/
And finally… here are some fun and easy recipes for the weekend. Enjoy !
Cheese Stuffed Baby Peppers
8 oz mini sweet peppers
4 oz. herbed cheese spread such as Boursin or Alouette
2 tbsp fresh chopped chives
Half the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes.
Spread the cheese inside the pepper halves and sprinkle with the chopped chives.
Fresh Corn Casserole
8 ears corn, still in the husk
2/3 c heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove corn from the husks. With a sharp knife, slice off the kernels of corn, then using a dull knife, press and scrape the cob all the way down to remove all of the bits of kernels and creamy milk inside.
Add heavy cream, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, pour into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Homemade BBQ Sauce (for just about anything!)
1 c ketchup
¼ c white vinegar
¼ brown sugar
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
½ to ¼ tsp cayenne powder
Gather all ingredients except cayenne powder and simmer 5-8 minutes in saucepan on medium heat. Taste for flavor and add the cayenne if you like a spicier sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before using. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.