1. Write a Letter to Veterans
Organizations like Operation Gratitude send thousands of letters and packages to veterans and individuals currently in service. Writing these letters is an easy and fun activity for seniors and grandchildren to complete together on Memorial Day. Operation Gratitude states that.
- Letters are accepted year-round.
- We have a special need for letters specifically written to New Recruits, Veterans, and First Responders.
For a sweet twist on a Fourth of July barbecue favorite — kabobs — try these fruit skewers. Thread 4 blueberries, 2 mini-marshmallows and 2 raspberries on each of five 10-inch wooden sticks. On the remaining seven sticks, thread 4 raspberries and 3 marshallows to create this all-American treat.
This movement encourages people to pause whatever they are doing at 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day to honor those who died serving our country. Established by Congress, it asks Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute.
Make a Paper Poppy
2 x Red cupcake cases (or use white ones and colour them in red)
Green bamboo craft rods or paddle pop stick/green straw (available from craft and discount stores)
Permanent marker (or black texter)
1. Turn the two cupcake cases inside out.
2. Cut a wavy edge — in about 1 cm from the edge — around the first cupcake case.
3. Cut a wavy edge — in about 0.5 cm from the edge — around the second cupcake cases.
4. Draw a black centre inside the smaller cupcake case and small lines coming out from the centre to give that Poppy-Centre look (refer to the image of a wild poppy below).
5. Glue the smaller cupcake case inside the larger one.
6. Glue the flower on to the bamboo rod (or paddle pop stick/straw). If your rod or paddle pop stick is not already green (you can buy them coloured), simply colour in with texta or paint.
7. Make a few and display in a vase or cup, carry on a march or hold at a dawn service.
3. Talk to Veterans
Don’t just assume a veteran you know isn’t willing to share his or her stories. Ask them who their friends were in the war and what countries they visited during their time of service. Encourage them to share and then take time to really listen to and appreciate their stories.
Questions to Avoid
“Did you ever kill anyone?” This is the gold standard for questions never to ask someone who has served in uniform. And yes, it still does get asked, far more often than you would think possible. No veteran who has lived through that searing experience is ever going to want to talk about it to a passerby, and often not even to close family or friends. Those who ask this make themselves look thoughtless, ignorant, and extremely disrespectful. In sum: Never, ever, ever.
“Did you see any dead bodies?” This is another example of insensitivity. Many veterans will have never have seen anyone dead, but for the vast majority of those who have, it’s a sickening snapshot that will never be forgotten. And whether those dead bodies were Americans, enemy soldiers, or innocent civilians, nobody needs that jarring image refreshed.
Questions to Ask
“What service were you in? Why did you choose that one?” Veterans often appreciate the opportunity to talk about their decision to serve, and every vet identifies with their specific service. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps each have their own culture, history and customs. Not understanding that each service is very different from one another is a common mistake.
“Are you still in the military? What are you doing now? What are your friends doing now?” These are terrific questions to find out more about the current lives of veterans and to show that you are interested in more than lurid tales of firefights and dead bodies.