By Jennifer Blanck, MiCAFE Network Coordinator
Memorial Day has been marked as the unofficial kick-off to summer. For most, it means an extended weekend of fun in the sun with friends, family, and lots of food. In my family, it is the opening of grandma’s pool, and the kids never wanting to leave her house all summer. Many Americans, especially Michiganians, spend the weekend ‘up north’ at their cabins on the lake or camping. I think with all the fun and excitement beginning, most people forget what this holiday is really all about.
Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, was first observed in the North on May 30, 1868, with Michigan making it an official state holiday in 1871. Memorial Day is a day to remember those in the military who gave their life while serving. This is not to be confused with Veterans Day which celebrates all men and women who have served in the military. Most people who celebrate Memorial Day decorate the grave sites of their fallen loved ones with the American flag, flowers, and wreaths. Even though this day is meant for those in the military, many families, including my own, take this day to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. We also go to the cemetery to plant flowers and clean up the gravestones of family members who have passed away.
So, while you are out enjoying this extended weekend, try to remember your senior family members who may struggle with the memory and emotions of spouses or children who died in the service. This may be a good time to pay them a visit and share happy memories with them or include them in your weekend plans.