6 Tips to Observe Memorial Day

As US Americans kick off the unofficial start to summer on Memorial Day with picnics, barbecues, and swimming, it’s important to remember the reason for the holiday. Memorial Day is a time for enjoying the liberties given to us by the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom, remembering them, and spending time with family and friends. For those hosting a Memorial Day gathering, here are 6 tips for a day of fun and reflection.
  1. Moment of Silence: In 2000, President Clinton instituted a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time for all U.S. Americans to reflect on those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom. Gather your guests beforehand and explain the importance of this tradition. Have everyone silence their phones and ask kiddos to settle down as everyone remembers the sacrifice of our valiant soldiers.
  2. Invite a Veteran Take the time to thank a veteran. Invite them to your gathering or take them to a meal early in the day. Take time to show your appreciation year round by volunteering at the local VFW, or VA hospital. If you have neighbors that are veterans take time sit and listen over the weekend.
  3. Something for everyone: Include options for every guest, including those with special dietary needs, and kiddos who are picky eaters, so that no one’s celebrating on an empty stomach. Fruit and vegetable platters, gluten-free buns, grilled veggies for vegetarians, and dairy-free treats are all good options for those accommodating special dietary needs. Avoid summer dehydration with a selection of beverages such as iced tea, sugar-free lemonade for those who can’t drink soda, juice boxes for the kiddos, and plenty of water.
  4. Ask Guests to Chip In: If you’re organizing a large gathering, and want to keep costs down, co-organizers can bring one item to share, such as hamburger buns, water bottles, fresh fruit, or ice cream sandwiches. With everyone contributing to the menu, you aren’t left with a hefty grocery receipt and can focus on organizing activities and enjoying the day.
  5. Dessert of the Day: Save the red, white, and blue for the 4th of July and instead go bold with red poppy-themed desserts, such as poppy cupcakes or lemon poppyseed cake. Many bakeries prepare special Memorial Day treats, so consider a special order of cupcakes or decorated cookies.
  6. Fun in the Sun: While the adults gather around the barbecue or lounge poolside, the kids are ready to play! Set up an activity area with safe toys such as water soakers, and water balloons to stay cool. For the kids who enjoy sports, have a basket of soccer balls, jump ropes, and basket balls handy.
We’re blessed to have this annual occasion to enjoy our freedom, so make the most of the holiday with family and friends. However you decide to spend the day, let’s all appreciate our freedom.

Sharon Schweitzer co-wrote this article with Intercultural Research Assistant Amanda Alden. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.

Amanda Alden is a Intercultural Research Assistant with Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She graduated with honors from St. Edward’s University with a major in Global Studies and a minor in French, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Intercultural Mediations at l’Université de Lille III. Feel free to connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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