If you usually spend your Memorial Days roasting hot dogs, attending patriotic parades, and playing games with family and friends, you aren’t alone.

Unfortunately, this year’s Memorial Day may be a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With life slowing down, it would be good to remember why Memorial Day is important to you and your family and learn what you can do to honor it.

1. Memorial Day celebrates our nation’s fallen soldiers.

Initially, Memorial Day honored only the soldiers in the Civil War. During World War I, however, the nation decided to celebrate all of our fallen soldiers. Now, Memorial Day is a national holiday that commemorates those who died in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, The Vietnam War, The Korean War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Memorial Day is a special day set aside each year to remember the freedoms we have and those who sacrificed their lives for our country. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men [and women] have died to win them.”

2. Ways to Honor Our Soldiers

The best way to honor the courageous men and women who fought for our country is to not treat Memorial Day like a typical day off of school and work. Here are some ideas:

  • If you have family members who fought for the country, teach your children about them, read their old journal entries, or research more about their lives.
  • Watch your favorite war hero movie.
  • Donate to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Gary Sinise Foundation for wounded veterans, or the Fisher House Foundation that supports military families.
  • Send a care package to a military relative or friend serving overseas.
  • Write letters to veterans in nursing homes, thanking them for their service.
  • Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance by taking one minute at 3:00 p.m. local time to pay respects to those who have died in battle.

The world may look different now due to quarantine, but we can still enjoy this Memorial Day weekend. Take time to slow down and remember the importance behind Memorial Day by honoring those who died for us.