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5 ways to celebrate Memorial Day with your family

american flag info graphic

Memorial Day weekend is often seen as a time to get together with family and as the unofficial start to summer. However, there is much more to the history of Memorial Day than picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings.  Our colleagues at Michigan State University wrote a great article about the history of Memorial Day and how to teach your children about it. Their Early Childhood Development team shared some great suggestions of ways to celebrate Memorial Day with your children. These are a great combination of virtual and in-person types of activities.

  • Attend a Memorial Day event virtually. Some events this year are happening in person and others are not, so be sure to check in your local community for any live events and online for live-streamed Memorial Day events in your community, across the state and country.
  • Watch the National Memorial Day Concert. This performance by the National Symphony Orchestra occurs on the west lawn of the Capitol in Washington D.C. and is broadcast on PBS on Sunday, May 30, at 8 p.m.
  • Fly the American flag at half-staff. Traditionally, the American flag should be positioned the highest with the state flag in the middle and others below. On Memorial Day, the American flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon. Consider removing novelty flags temporarily.
  • Place flowers and flags on graves. Show respect by placing items on the graves of friends, family, civilians, and military personnel. If you are too far away from the grave of someone you know, decorate the grave of a stranger. You can also sponsor a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation. Sponsored bouquets are placed on war memorials in New York City on Memorial Day weekend.
  • Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance occurs for one minute at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. This is a moment of silence for all Americans to voluntarily and informality observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.

For more information on the history of Memorial Day, read the complete article, “Teaching Your Children about Memorial Day”  here:


Judy Schmidt provides leadership to 4-H metro programming in Peoria County. Schmidt joined Extension in 2001, working as a Youth Development Educator at the East Peoria Center ,and joined the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit in 2011. Her work focuses on 4-H youth development programming in the local metropolitan area, specifically leading positive youth development initiatives for after-school programs, community groups, 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Her areas of expertise include positive youth development principles, youth leadership, and work with teens as teachers.

Schmidt attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her bachelor's degree in psychology and also for her master's degrees in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a certified facilitator of the Matrixx System/Real Colors program by the National Curriculum and Training Institute.


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