It is important to honor fallen veterans in the community this Memorial Day. By celebrating the contributions of veterans, you can help instill a feeling of patriotism and gratitude in your HOA. Not many communities, though, know where to begin. If you’re looking for ways to honor fallen veterans this holiday, you’ve come to the right place.
Why You Should Honor Fallen Veterans in the Community
Memorial Day has a rich history behind it. It began as a way to honor those who died in service during the Civil War. Today, it is a federal holiday commemorating all American veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
But why is it important to honor veterans for their service?
Veterans have profoundly impacted the safety and security of the country and its citizens. While you might not feel it firsthand, veterans risked their lives to fight for your freedom. And many of them ended up breathing their last breath in that fight.
By honoring fallen veterans in the community, your board can spread patriotism and educate residents on the significance of Memorial Day. It also acts as a way to bring people together for a common cause and instills in them a sense of community.
How to Honor Fallen Veterans in Your Community
How do you honor a fallen veteran? From providing educational information to watching parades, there are several things homeowners associations can do to celebrate Memorial Day and remember those who gave their lives to the country.
1. Spread Knowledge
To this today, a lot of people still don’t know the meaning behind Memorial Day. Some even treat the holiday as just another day off from work. Make sure your community understands the significance the day holds.
Additionally, it’s essential to distinguish the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While the two holidays share some similarities, they serve different purposes. Memorial Day honors fallen veterans, particularly those who lost their lives in battle, while Veterans Day honors all veterans. Homeowners should know how these holidays differ to celebrate them properly.
2. Plan a Flag-Raising Ceremony
A more traditional way to honor fallen service members in the community is to plan a flag-raising ceremony. This can take place at a specific location in your neighborhood, though a common area works best. Inviting a local veterans group to assist with the ceremony is a good idea. Residents can attend the event and even mingle with members of the local veterans’ group afterward.
If you can’t do a whole flag-raising ceremony, you can encourage residents to display the American flag instead. Of course, residents should follow the proper etiquette for displaying the American flag.
3. Organize a Memorial Day Service
Your HOA can also organize a Memorial Day service in the community. The service can occur in the neighborhood, at a local cemetery, or at a nearby memorial. Again, it’s best to invite a local veterans group to help plan this out. Veterans can even share stories with residents and talk about the importance of the holiday.
4. Plan a Memorial Day Walk or Run
Memorial Day walks and runs are quite popular across the nation. If your local area isn’t holding one, consider planning one for your HOA. You will need to map out the trail for the run or walk to get the entire neighborhood involved or do it at a local park. With a Memorial Day walk or run, you honor fallen veterans in the community and encourage exercise. Just make sure to plot out water stations throughout the path.
5. Watch the National Memorial Day Parade
The National Memorial Day Parade happens every year. If you don’t live nearby, you can organize a live-watching event for your community. You can do this at the community clubhouse and provide seats, food, and refreshments for attendees. It’s a great way to unite residents while commemorating the holiday.
6. Organize Your Own Memorial Day Community Parade
If you want to get creative, you can organize a Memorial Day parade in your community. Residents can decorate their wagons, bikes, and golf carts to fit the theme. They can dress up with patriotic colors and wave flags. Kids and adults alike can participate in the parade as they strut down the street waving to everyone else. If possible, you can invite local marching bands to provide patriotic music as residents march through the neighborhood.
7. Plan a Movie Marathon
Movies are not just for entertainment — they give us a glimpse of history and allow us to experience the past more deeply. As such, if you want a low-budget way to celebrate Memorial Day in your HOA, plan a movie marathon.
There are plenty of movies that depict military life. “Black Hawk Down,” “Top Gun,” and “Saving Private Ryan” are all classics. But, for more family-friendly movies, “Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front,” “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” “National Treasure,” and “Valiant” are better suited.
Just set up a big TV or a large projector screen at your clubhouse or outdoors. Put out some chairs, blankets, snacks, and refreshments, and you’ll have a cozy Memorial Day experience.
8. Launch a Community Service Project
Memorial Day is also the perfect time to do some community service. Your HOA can plan a project that gives back to the local community or partner with a local veterans charity. There are plenty of organizations you can tap into, such as K9s for Warriors, The Fisher House Foundation, and Homes For Our Troops.
9. Encourage Residents to Do Their Own Thing
Finally, if your HOA doesn’t have the time, space, or budget to plan a community-wide event, you can do your part by encouraging residents to celebrate Memorial Day on their own.
Residents can visit a war memorial in person or remotely; some memorials provide virtual tours. They can also take a walk through a local veterans’ cemetery if you have one nearby. You can search for cemeteries on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
A Meaningful Effort
As you can see, there are many ways to honor fallen veterans in the community. These events or projects don’t have to be perfect. What matters is the heart that you and other residents put into them. Memorial Day is a time to celebrate those who sacrificed their lives for the country. As such, you should make an effort to remember them and their contributions.
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