An Easy to Plan Memorial Day Weekend Excursion

If you’re like most American families, Memorial Day can mean hot dogs, backyard picnics, and the promise that summer is just around the corner. While there’s definitely something beautiful about that, it is so important to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day as a national holiday.

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So here’s your quick little rundown of Memorial Day’s creation and intended purpose (from this history major nerd 🤓).

Memorial Day was initially observed in the late 1860s, after the Civil War, by families who would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers and remember their sacrifices in battle. This tradition evolved through time and grew to include entire communities who would honor fallen soldiers. The holiday was formalized, as we know it today, in 1971.

With that in mind, here’s a day plan for an excursion that is centered around remembering our nation’s soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

The only thing you’ll need for your day trip is a piece of paper

Morning: Tour a local museum that focuses on military or war history.

(Bonus - a lot of these museums have free admission!)

Lunch: Pick up food from a diner or bbq place and eat it in a park near the museum

  • The intention of buying the food instead of packing a picnic is to create a super easy, laid back day. Think traditional, simple backyard bbq foods like hamburgers, potato salad, and ice cream.  

  • Here are some conversation starters for your group or family:

    • Did you have any members of your family who served in the military? If so, what are some of their stories?

    • Do you know anyone who died while serving their country? If so, what do you remember about them?

    • What do you admire about the men and women who serve our country?

Afternoon: Find a local coffee shop and write a letter of gratitude to a service member

  • Operation Gratitude has a great mission that encourages civilians to write letters to our service men and women. There are four groups of service members they send out letters to: deployed troops, veterans, new recruits, and first responders.  

  • Their website clearly lays out how you can write and send letters of gratitude to the men and women serving our country.

  • This is also a great activity to do with kids! Even if they can’t write, you can still explain what the letter is for and have them draw a picture. This simple activity encourages gratitude and respect for our military and first responders.  

Make it a beautiful day to remember!

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