For most Americans, Memorial Day is an annual holiday to honor all who died while defending their nation and its values. For others, it’s the official start of the summer. Whatever you do, and wherever you are this holiday weekend, there are easy and modern ways to acknowledge this annual observance.
Sharon Schweitzer, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, recommends to:
• Remember the roots: Memorial Day’s predecessor, ‘Decoration Day,’ was honored by the decoration of Arlington graves with a flag, flower or candle. It was also honored by wearing a red poppy. Poppies, candles and flags are commonly displayed in communities across the US and at barbecues and pool parties.
• Celebrate the Day with Military Veterans: Honor Memorial Day in a way that resonates with your tribe. Invite veterans or military to your event – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Reserve time to play Taps and have a moment of silence with your guests. In Puerto Vallarta, Steve’s Sports Bar will host a Memorial Day event on Monday, May 30 from 12 Noon to 4:00 pm, offering two free drinks and a hot dog to every military veteran who wishes to come. Sponsored by the American Legion Post 14, the purpose of the event is to honor the men and women who died serving the U.S. Military, while still mixing in the traditional festive spirit and good times associated with the Holiday.
Even if you did not serve in the military, this event provides everyone the opportunity to meet – and honor – some of those who made sacrifices for freedom.
• National Moment of Remembrance: The National Moment of Remembrance was created by U.S. President Bill Clinton to observe a full minute of silence at 3:00 pm (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all. Whether you listen to taps or just have a moment of silence, take the time to salute those who gave their all.
• Spread the Word: Now that you have acknowledged the roots of the holiday, share this with friends and family. Thank a veteran or service member today. Post on social media, create an environment that celebrates in an authentic way and educates those around you on the true meaning of the last Monday in May.
• Be Thankful: Above all this Memorial Day, strive to be grateful for our freedom and loved ones. Many have served for our freedom and expressing gratitude this Memorial Day weekend honors them and their sacrifices.
• You can acknowledge the start of summer but…: Many Americans have turned Memorial Day into a time for family get-togethers and barbecues to ring in the official start of summer. Cooking out, swimming and spending time with friends and loved ones is perfectly acceptable; however, do remember the real meaning of this important holiday first and foremost.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is a regular on-air contributor and has been quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, The Bangkok Post and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of “Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide,” which was named to the Best Books of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews.