Three Ways You Can REMEMBER and HONOR This Memorial Day

May is always an important month to us here at Wreaths Across America. May as a whole is National Military Appreciation Month, and throughout the month we also observe many holidays of importance to our community ranging from Mother’s Day to Armed Forces Day to Memorial Day. We consider each of these occasions a chance to fulfill our mission to remember, honor, and teach.

Now, as many communities around our country cancel traditional plans, it is perhaps more important than ever that we take the time to observe Memorial Day in the spirit it was intended. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is not “the unofficial start of summer” as so many believe, but is a day for remembering all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. 

If your community has to cancel Memorial Day observations or limit attendance at ceremonies, you may be concerned that the sacrifice those brave men and women made will go unnoticed this year. That doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s bring our Wreaths Across America community together this year to remember our fallen veterans and honor them as they deserve. Here are some ideas to get started: 

Try these Memorial Day observances in 2020

Say Their Names - When a volunteer places a wreath on a veteran's grave on National Wreaths Across America Day, we encourage them to speak that veteran's name aloud, thank them for their service and sacrifice, and reflect on that person and their life. This solemn and moving moment is one of the most important aspects of National Wreaths Across America Day. In fact, we encourage our participating locations to perform this action for every veteran even if they do not have a wreath dedicated to each veteran at their location.

This Memorial Day, consider taking a similar moment to honor the fallen veterans in your community by sharing their names or stories. This is a simple action that can easily be performed virtually if you are unable to hold in-person events in your community. Try creating a short video and sharing it on social media or encourage families in your community to contribute photos and names of the veterans in their lives.

Participating in the Remembrance Tree Program - Wreaths Across America established the Veterans Remembrance Tree Program as another way to remember and honor our veterans. In Columbia Falls, Maine, where the balsam tips are harvested each year to be made into the wreaths that are placed on veteran’s graves, Gold Star Families may participate in the Remembrance Tree Program by finding a tree that will become a living memorial to their loved one and placing a customized dog tag on the trunk of the evergreen tree. These trees are kept in production and their balsam tips are harvested every three years and made into veterans’ wreaths that are placed each December. Participation in this program is FREE and open to all families who have had a loved one in the military.

Share a Message on Wreaths Across America’s Virtual Remember Wall - With every $15 veteran’s wreath sponsorship, you have the opportunity to dedicate it “In memory of” a friend or loved one who served. In addition to placing the wreaths in December on National Wreaths Across America day, Wreaths Across America hosts a virtual “Remember Wall” for each participating location. Donors can post photos, memories and personal messages on these pages as a year-round display of remembrance and support of their loved ones. With so many Americans unable to visit the resting places of their loved ones this Memorial Day, we think this effort is more important than ever. To further honor our veterans this year, we’ll be sharing “Remember Wall” messages on the WAA official social media pages. If you’d like to participate, start your sponsorship here or search for the Wreaths Across America location you wish to support.

If you have something unique planned for your local community to recognize Memorial Day, we’d love to hear from you! Message us on Facebook to share your story.