Remembering Our Heroes: 10 Ways to Honor the Fallen on Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have served and died for the United States, ensuring their contributions to the nation’s freedom and security are never forgotten.

For many, Memorial Day means a day free from work or school, often spent around a barbecue or on the water. This year, as you enjoy the time with family and friends, we encourage you to incorporate one or more of the following activities to honor those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

1. Expand your Memorial Day knowledge

Do you know why we celebrate Memorial Day? Learn more about the origin of the holiday, read about the 21 Gun Salute, or find out why some people wear red poppies on Memorial Day.

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2. Tune in to the National Memorial Day Parade

The National Memorial Day Parade presented by Boeing will be aired live from Constitution Avenue in Washington D.C. today (May 27) at 2:00 PM Eastern, with pre-parade musical performances starting at 1:00 PM Eastern. Watch the parade online and stay after for the Independence Day television companion: Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute. 

3. Visit those laid to rest in a Veterans Cemetery

National Veterans cemeteries are designed to be a sacred place to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized there. Find the one nearest you to visit and pay your respects. Many will have adjusted hours for Memorial Day.

4. Learn the story behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is arguably the most iconic monument in Arlington National Cemetary. It is guarded 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and honors the unidentified soldiers who gave their lives for our country. Learn more about the 100+ year-old sarcophagus here.

Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

5. Join a Memorial Day walk or run

Many communities organize walking and/or running races locally as a symbolic way to be the feet of those who have fallen. From 5k’s to marathons, there are various options for different ages and fitness levels. Participating in a Memorial Day race is a great way to show gratitude to those who have made it possible for us to walk and run freely.

6. Research your family’s military history

Do you know which, if any, of your relatives have served in the military? You may be surprised to find out who from your family has served the country in generations past. Swap stories as you spend time with family members this Memorial Day.

7. Learn about Gold Star Families

The title of a Gold Star Family is reserved for those who have lost family members during military service. The distinction is given to “honor the service member’s ultimate sacrifice while acknowledging their family’s loss, grief, and continued healing.” Learn more about Gold Star Families in the U.S.

Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images

8. Workout like a hero

Many people across the country participate in the Murph workout each Memorial Day. The Murph workout is a CrossFit “hero” workout that honors the life of Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout consists of the following:

  • A one-mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • Another one-mile run

9. Watch a military movie

The list of military movies is extensive, from comedies to dramas to memoirs. Finish off your Memorial Day with a film that tells a military story. The films compiled in this list are a great place to start.

10. Visit a war memorial in Washington D.C. (virtually)

The USO has captured 360-degree videos of several D.C.-area war memorials, including the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. Check them out below! 

World War II Memorial 

YouTube video

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

YouTube video

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