Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, originally honored those lost in the Civil War. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill making Memorial Day an official legal holiday to remember all of the men and women who have died in the course of serving our country. Here are dozens of resources to help your family celebrate Memorial Day!
The history from The History Channel.
The Origins of Memorial Day
A nice explanation of how Memorial Day came to be an official holiday. Provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Today in History: May 30
Another more extensive history provided by the Library of Congress.
Understanding the Difference Between Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day
Great explanation from USO.org.
The Tomb of the Unknowns
“Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God.” Official site at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Flower of Remembrance
The significance of the red poppies you sometimes see at this time of year.
The Origin of Taps
Background taken from U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
How to Observe Memorial Day
“…Gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime…. Let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude, — the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.” — General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868. Ideas for putting the “Memorial” back in Memorial Day.
National Moment of Remembrance
“The National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause wherever they are, whatever they are doing, for a moment of respectful silence on Memorial Day at 3 p.m., local time, to honor those who died in the service of our nation.” Observe a moment of remembrance to show respect for those who have died securing our freedom.
National Memorial Day Concert
“The concert is broadcast live on PBS and live via American Forces Network to the nearly one million American service men and women, Department of Defense civilians and their families overseas, stationed at bases in 175 countries as well as 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea.” The National Memorial Day Concert on PBS premieres live on the Sunday evening before Memorial Day. Most stations air the concert at 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT.
Guidelines for Display of the Flag
From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
A lesson in the proper way to fold the American flag.
Memorial Day Handwriting Practice
Young students can trace words associated with Memorial Day. Illustrated from Jumpstart (free registration required).
Parade of Colors
Make wands to wave for Memorial Day. Instructions with background history information.
American Flag on a Pencil Craft
Or create a flag to wave with this template from DLTK.
Medal of Honor Coloring Book
Color and learn about the Medal of Honor, its history, recipients, and those who have presented the award.
Creating a Memorial Day Poster Poem
Great activity from EduPlace.
Fireworks in a Jar
Create your own fireworks via a safe science experiment!
Old Glory Dessert
Super-easy version of the edible flag.
The Wall by Eve Bunting
From a favorite author, this picture book tells of a young boy and his father’s trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to find his grandfather’s name. Simple, but speaks to the heart.
Memorial Day: Its Celebration, Spirit, and Significance as Related in Prose and Verse with a Non-sectional Anthology of the Civil War edited by Robert Haven Schauffler
Compilation of prose and verse fitting for the holiday.
Unit Studies & Lesson Plans
Memorial Day Lesson and Craft
Wonderful lesson plan based on a story from the book of Joshua where students make memorial stones. From Ministry-to-Children.com.
Lesson plan from ReadWriteThink where students learn more about a veteran and use that information to create a timeline, picture book, or other presentation.
Revolutionary War Memorial
Lesson plan from EduPlace has students use the Korean War and Vietnam Veterans War Memorials to design a memorial to honor Revolutionary War heroes.
Printables & Notebooking Pages
Coloring pages for each of the branches of service. Great for notebook! From Jumpstart (free registration required).
Pledge of Allegiance
2-page coloring page from ClassBrain.
Memorial Day Bugler
Coloring page from Crayola.
Statue of Liberty
Coloring page from ClassBrain.
Memorial Day Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.
Related Resources at DIY Homeschooler:
Flag Day celebrates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777. Unit resources.
“Our Flag” is a free 52-page download from the Joint Committee on Printing covering the history and the customs of the United States flag.
For Flag Day, a free eBook, How the Flag Became Old Glory, covering the history of the flag through poems and prose.
Free eBook: Independence Day: Its Celebration, Spirit, and Significance as Related in Prose and Verse added to our 4th of July Holiday Helps.
Just in time for Flag Day, here is another free eBook in the Our American Holidays series. Flag Day edited by Robert Haven Schauffler includes poetry and stories that will complement our Flag Day unit. The subtitle gives you an idea of what you will find in the book: Its History, Origin, and Celebration as…
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Read the current chapter online: “America’s Marvels and America’s Station” Suggestions Learn more about the Statue of Liberty. Copy “The New Colossus,” the poem written by Emma Lazarus that adorns the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. View New York Harbor. Sing the patriotic songs mentioned: “Star-Spangled Banner” “Yankee Doodle” “Battle Hymn of the Republic”…
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John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C., on November 6, 1854. Unit Resources.
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