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This Memorial Day: Honor Heroes and Make Meaningful Connections With Your Service Member

Current as of May 1, 2020

Memorial Day weekend 2020 will likely look different this year. Parades, concerts and public ceremonies may be canceled because of the coronavirus 2019 disease pandemic.

If some of these traditional events won’t be happening in your community, you can turn to other ways to remember and honor those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Whether your service member is near or far, you can mark the day together in ways that are particularly meaningful to you.

Talk about who you will honor on Memorial Day

We remember all of our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, but your service member may be mourning a specific loss this year. Talk about family members and other loved ones who are on your mind. Ask if you can join your service member in honoring anyone special.

Let your service member know the ways you will observe Memorial Day. You may decide to take time to quietly reflect on those you’ve lost. Or you and your service member may find comfort in connecting with others.

Ways to honor someone important to you and your service member

Here are a few ideas to consider while you and your service member talk about ways to remember a fallen hero.

  • Post a tribute on social media. Online platforms are virtual gathering places where we celebrate life’s joys and mourn our losses. Create a tribute page for your fallen loved one. Share pictures, memories, favorite songs and other remembrances.
  • Reach out to others who share your loss. Connect through a phone call, text, send a card or write a letter.
  • Send flowers from you and your service member to the family of someone who lost their life in service to the country.
  • Make a donation to a nonprofit that was important to your fallen hero. Or ask about possible volunteer opportunities.

Marking Memorial Day 2020 in times of social distancing

Following the rituals of Memorial Day tells your service member that you are proud of our military and thankful to those who served. Here are ways to share this important day despite the miles that separate you.

  • Make and send poppies for your service member to wear on Memorial Day. Typically made from red crepe paper, poppies are worn to honor the sacrifices of American service members during war. Look for instructions online. You might even make enough for your service member to pass out to others to wear on Memorial Day.
  • Fly the American flag. If you have a flagpole you may want to follow the formal flag-raising ceremony. Raise the flag briskly on Memorial Day morning, then lower it to half-staff to honor the fallen. At noon, raise the flag to full staff for the remainder of the day. If you’re unable to be with your service member, consider sharing this moment on video chat.
  • Observe the National Moment of Silence. Stop what you are doing at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, and observe one minute of silence. Use this time to reflect on those who lost their lives.

Important holidays bring us together, even when we are physically apart. For more information about Memorial Day, see Remember America’s Military Heroes on Memorial Day Weekend.

Service members and their families can stay up to date on all the latest military-related information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Whether your service member is near or far, you can mark the day together in ways that are particularly meaningful to you.

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