13 Ideas For Memorial Day Weekend

Try 13 new ways to make your Memorial Day weekend meaningful and memorable.

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Looking for meaningful ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend? Try these 13 Memorial Day activities for new traditions to make your weekend more meaningful and memorable. Memorial Day is a time to remember fallen soldiers and to commemorate the lives of deceased loved ones.

Family on a picnic on Memorial Day
Create meaningful memories with your family this Memorial Day. Image via LDS. org

 1. Receive the Message of the Resurrection

Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection Image via lds.org
Ponder the blessings Heavenly Father has provided through His only Begotten Son. Image via LDS.org

Before visiting the grave site of a loved one, seek to internalize the reality of the resurrection. Read and ponder about the account of Christ’s Resurrection in the New Testament and Book of Mormon. Read the words of the prophets and apostles to strengthen your understanding of the Resurrection.

2.Time Travel Through Journal Entries and Pictures

assortment of old pictures used in family history work
Pull out some old photos and begin your Memorial Day exploration. Image via LDSliving.com

Wish you could understand what life would have been like for your family members in the past? You can experience time travel by reading journal entries of family members who are deceased. Journal accounts and pictures enable you to understand the universality of human experience and feel a connection to your progenitors.

3. Cook a Favorite Family Meal

Family cooking their favorite meal together
Take time to prepare a family meal together and connect the past and present.

Sitting around the dinner table can be one of the best ways to connect as a family. Rather than reverting to the typical Memorial Day meal ideas of hot dogs and potato salad, choose to branch out and prepare the favorite meal of your family members who have passed on as a way of honoring and remembering them. Make your Memorial Day meal the connector between past and present.

4.Write Personal Stories and Record Memories

Recording memories in a journal
Keeping a journal can be the most unique keepsake you could offer future generations.

Choose to record! Whether you decide to record about events that transpire on Memorial Day, memories you retain about deceased family members, or personal histories, make sure your journal entries are unique, honest and detailed. Let your personality shine through.

5. Do Family History: Prepare Names for the Temple

World War II 101st Airborne uniform
While doing family history work, search for relatives who have given their lives defending freedom.

Search for family members who may not have their temple work done. You may be surprised once you start looking how many gave their lives in defense of freedom. Check military records for insights into their military service. Both familysearch.org and ancestory.com have resources where you are able to search military records.

Dennis B. Neuenschwander, a former member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, said that “Family history research provides the emotional bridge between the generations. Temple ordinances provide the priesthood bridge. Temple ordinances are the priesthood ratification of the connection that we have already established in our hearts.”

 6. Serve the Family of a Deployed Service Member

Young man doing yard work service for a neighbor
Find a family who has a deployed family member to serve on Memorial Day. Image via LDS.org

Reach out to a family who has a loved one away on military duty. Honor service men and women by serving their families back home. Look for ways to ease burdens and relieve stress. Seek to strengthen, sustain and build up military families. Remembering current servicemen and women is a perfect way to honor those who have given their lives in defense of freedom.

7.  Take Time to Make Memorial Day Memories

family playing with water
Get out and have some fun with your family on Memorial Day .

Memorial Day Monday can be utilized by spending time with family and friends. Not only should you remember those who have passed away, but  remember to not let time pass away before you decide to make memories with those you love. Do Memorial Day activities that create bonds, solidify friendships and strengthen relationships.

The time that I have spent with my family outdoors exploring the sand dunes near our home, playing games and sharing a Memorial Day meal together are among my most treasured memories.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf  said,

“In family relationships love is really spelled T. I. M. E.”

8. Plant Flowers and Trees

Picture of a purple flower
Image via LDS.org

This year try something new by planting a flower or tree as a continual reminder of a person you love. Each time you pass the  flower or tree you will be reminded of the person you cherish. Plant a tree in memory of a loved one  or choose a flower that represents some aspect of that person’s life. Memorial Day doesn’t have to be the only day you honor and remember those who have died.

9. Visit a Historical Site or Community Event

navy soldier sings God Bless America
Witnessing a community giving respect to those who have served will increase your appreciation.

Make a plan to go to a historical site or community event. Doing so will be an enjoyable cultural event. Seek to broaden your horizons by learning about historical events, figures and places. Expand your ability to understand and appreciate the lives that have been lost in past conflicts by visiting Memorial Day services honoring servicemen and woman.

10. Visit a Friend Who Recently Lost a Loved One

Jesus comforts Mary and Martha after Lazarus' death
Remember to reach out to those who may need their burdens lifted on Memorial Day.

Holidays can be a difficult time for those who have recently lost a loved one. Especially on a day like Memorial Day search out those who need to have their burdens lifted. There are many within your circle of influence who can benefit from a kind word or a good deed. Honor your covenants by  bearing another person’s burdens.

11. Pause at 3 PM

a clock that reads 3 PM
Pause to reflect, honor, and remember those who gave their lives. Image via 3pmcreativegroup.com

One tradition that is largely unknown by the general populous is the custom to pause at 3 PM  local time to remember those who have died in battle. As you participate in what is known as the National Moment of Remembrance you join other men and women around the United States as they remember fallen soldiers.

12. Visit a Veterans  Hospital

Jonnalynn Cummings visits with Air Force veteran Leon Gilbert at Chicago's Westside VA Hospital
Visit a local Veterans Hospital and ask residents about their life experiences. Image via commons.wikimedia.org

Share the day with those who may need a visit at a local Veterans Hospital.  Ask residents to tell you about their experiences in the military. Learn from the wisdom of experience as they explain to you what it was like to lose a close friend in battle, have a brother injured on the front-lines, or see their country torn during a war. Show appreciation by lending a listening ear and a warm smile.

13. Write  a Letter to a Member of the Military

Handwritten letter to a military service man
Write a thoughtful letter to a service man or woman.

Take the time to write a kind note to a person serving in the military. Thank them for their service and offer consolation for those they have lost on the battlefield. Seek to brighten another person’s day by offering a kind word.

“Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes. Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years.”- President Thomas S. Monson

Decide today what you will do to make this Memorial Day unique and memorable. What traditions does your family have for celebrating Memorial Day?  Share your traditions with us in the comment box.

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Danielle is a writer for LDS.net and is a self-proclaimed lover of words. She is a returned missionary from the Washington Tacoma Mission. If laughing were an olympic sport she would be in the running for gold. For the record, the world should know that she is the favorite aunt of her 17 nieces and nephews. She also enjoys sharing the gospel, composing poetry and proudly claims that she is a Utah State University Aggie.