Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer; a day filled with backyard barbecues, the opening of swimming pools and the anticipation of the last few days of school. Local pools open, state parks welcome campers and hikers and vacation plans are in the works. There’s no arguing with the fact that Memorial Day is a special day, but for many people, it holds a much greater significance. This day is reserved for celebrating Veterans who have served our country.

If you have a loved one in your life who is a Veteran, make this Memorial Day count. Here are some ideas for celebrating the day with this special person and showing them how much you appreciate their commitment to our country.

Display the American Flag

The simplest thing you can do is display the American flag outside your home or the home of the person you’re caring for. Make sure you follow the proper etiquette for handling the flag. For example, the flag should not touch the ground and the stars should be at the top and not the bottom.

Attend a Local Parade

A fun way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend is by attending a local parade. Many communities have their own parades, so you should have no trouble finding one nearby. Arrive early so you get a good seat, and bring lawn chairs, snacks and water. When the flag goes by during the parade, show your respect by standing up and placing your right hand over your heart.

Check Out Local Veteran Clubs

VFW Halls and American Legions often host events during Memorial Day weekend such as barbecues and fish fry dinners. Check out your local vicinities and see if your loved one would be up for attending an event. The nice thing about these activities is that they bring Veterans together. Think about signing your loved one up so that they have access to different Veteran events throughout the year.

Bring the Celebration to Them

Not every senior is in a position to go somewhere. If this is the case, bring the celebration to them. Think about a classic war film they may enjoy or sing patriotic songs. Reminiscing through an old scrapbook is also a good way to honor their life and learn some new things yourself. There are also a number of online websites that share Veteran stories and poems. Check out and

Host a Cookout

If your loved one resides in assisted living, talk to the director and see if you can host a Memorial Day cookout or barbecue. Grill hamburgers and hot dogs or bring patriotic-themed desserts. Pass out mini hand flags to the residents. Hang up old photographs from the wars or ask the families of the residents to contribute their own photos.

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and it’s a day full of fun, smiles and sunshine. But don’t let the real meaning of the holiday pass you by. Spend some time honoring the veterans in your life and making a difference that won’t be forgotten.