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By: Molly Chronister|May 22, 2015

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Memorial Day reminds us that summer is close but don’t forget what the true meaning behind the day is!

Memorial Day can have different meanings for everyone. Often times, people use this day as a celebration for the arrival of summer. Cookouts, family reunions and a 3-day-weekend are all a blast but they can take away the importance of what the day truly signifies. While you celebrate good food and loved ones, don’t forget to pay your respects to those who have died fighting for our country. Pause, reflect and honor.

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” — Bill Clinton

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, was declared by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. In his General Order No. 11 he states,

 “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

While Celebrating Memorial Day 2015…

Attend A Parade. Many towns have parades on Memorial Day and some events even conclude with a memorial service. So take some time out from prepping for BBQs or relaxing with friends and family and take advantage of what your town has to offer on this important day.

Buy A Poppy. During the days leading up to Memorial Day, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies. The poppy’s significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem “In Flanders Fields.” Disabled and needy veterans in VA hospitals have been assembling Buddy Poppies since 1924. Purchase one, and your donation assists in maintaining state and national rehabilitation and service programs for veterans.

Decorate with Flags. Break out the red, white and blue! For many, many years it has been a tradition to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flags on Memorial Day. So why not bring that tradition home and decorate your house and lawn with the stars and stripes! Another tradition is to fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. So if you have a flag pole, consider joining the tradition this year.

Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. In an effort to restore Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be, the National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.

Thank A Veteran. While Memorial Day is a time for remembering and honoring our fallen soldiers, it’s also a wonderful time to thank those soldiers past and present who are right here in our midst today! Thank them for all they have done to protect our country and our freedoms. Don’t know a veteran or want to do more? You can write a letter to a veteran or soldier! Check out: OperationGratitude.com for more information about writing letters or sending care packages to soldiers currently deployed.

In addition to these activities, we do of course suggest you attend a cookout or two. Just keep in mind that this day holds a lot more meaning than just a really delicious burger off the grill.

TheRedPoppy_460x306px[1] Photo Credit: army.gov.au

Highlights of the 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast…

It’s been estimated that 37.2 million Americans are going to travel this Memorial Day Weekend so, best of luck to you if you have similar plans!
  • The 2015 Memorial Day forecast is expected to mark the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, since 2005.
  • Motorists can expect to pay over $1.00 per gallon less than last year and pay the lowest gas prices in over five years.
  • The 4.7 percent increase over Memorial Day 2014 is the highest forecast growth rate for any of the holidays tracked by AAA since Independence Day 2012.
  • More than 88 percent of travelers (33 million) will travel by automobile, an increase of 5.3 percent over last Memorial Day.
  • Holiday air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers.
  • Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, is expected to decrease 3.6 percent this Memorial Day, to 1.64 million.
  • Travelers will encounter higher average daily car rental and lodging costs this year, while airfares are down slightly compared to Memorial Day 2014.

 poppiesmemorialday[1]        Photo Credit: Heavy Editorials

Team building? Check out our Operation Military Care program. You’ll develop team skills while assembling care packages for men and women who are serving our country. What better way to spend time with your team than giving back? It’s a rewarding program that everyone benefits from! However you decide to spend your Memorial Day weekend, don’t forget to take a moment and be grateful for the people who have fought hard, and are currently fighting, for our beautiful country.

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