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Your Mission: Make Memorial Day Memorable!

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Lucy Riles: What's not to love about Memorial Day?? The three-day weekend, warm weather, a sign that summer is finally here, and -- most importantly -- the day we honor all the men and women in the U.S. military.

memorial day bbq barbeque

Make your next party memorable with these Memorial Day must-haves:

A Kid's Patriotic Parade: Gather all the children together with their bikes, wagons, or scooters ... Moms join in with your strollers. Decorate your ride with red, white, and blue streamers, balloons, and of course, American flags ... yellow ribbons would also be a nice touch. Once the decorating is done, it's time for the Kid's Patriotic Parade! If you want the whole block to join in the fun, deliver flyers in advance to your neighbors (be sure to include the parade start time on the flyer), and encourage them to set up chairs on their front lawns so they can enjoy the parade. No parade is complete without music, so place a stereo in one of the decorated wagons and play classic patriotic tunes while the children parade up and down the block, showing off their patriotic ride with pride!

An American BBQ Menu: Nothing is more American than a good old-fashioned BBQ. Everyone can contribute a dish, whether it's fried chicken, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, or watermelon slices. To top off your menu, make a patriotic cake. All you need is a rectangle-shaped cake pan, with whatever cake flavor you want inside. Cover it with white frosting, then use blueberries to represent the stars, and sliced strawberries to represent the stripes ... you have yourself an American Flag cake, serving up your sweet tooth AND your patriotism!

Red, White, & Blue Decor: Place red and white flowers in a blue vase as center pieces; to add something extra, place a few mini American flags in the flower arrangements. Tie yellow ribbons around the trees and light posts to honor the fallen soldiers. Display framed pictures of family or friends that served or are currently serving in the military to add a personal touch. Last but certainly not least, be sure to hang your American flag, and if you have a flag pole, please make sure your flag is hung at half-mast until noon at least.

For the Soldiers Serving Overseas: Memorial Day is all about our military, so invite your guests to bring pairs of socks, books, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, magazines, phone cards, or any other items for a soldier's care package. Decorate a big box with yellow ribbon where your guests can drop off their donated items. Create a craft station where all the children can color pictures and write letters to soldiers to include in the care packages. Once the packages are ready to go, find a website that collects care packages for soldiers stationed overseas. Here are some sites to check out:,, among others.

Attend a Memorial Service: Many cemetery sites hold Memorial Day services to honor all of the fallen soldiers, so make a point to go and pay your respects. This is also a great way to teach your children, at any age, what Memorial Day is all about and what our unsung heroes sacrificed for this great nation.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Susie May 21, 2009, 4:08 PM

what a great idea! i love the idea of the kids on parade!

Dee May 21, 2009, 4:37 PM

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. While it is nice to remember those serving, this holiday is about those who gave their lives so we could have freedom.

Jenny May 21, 2009, 7:24 PM

thanks, this will make planning the weekend fun!

Ginger May 21, 2009, 11:26 PM

Thanks, Lucy! Great ideas. I want my kids to know and remember that this day is more than just a day off from school. Your suggestions are helpful in making that happen.

Geri May 22, 2009, 1:11 PM

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. What great ideas for a party I appreciate all the suggestion. Very nice way to celebrate our past and present military.
Wishing you and all your readers a safe weekend.

Anonymous May 22, 2009, 2:56 PM

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. What great ideas for a party I appreciate all the suggestion. Very nice way to celebrate our past and present military.
Wishing you and all your readers a safe weekend.

Erin Hill May 23, 2009, 11:35 PM

I love the idea of the kid parade and the care packages. Also, its fun to have the kids do patriotic crafts.

barbara Cronin May 26, 2009, 12:03 AM

The kids parade is an absolutely brilliant idea! I am going to do that for the 4th of July! Lucy you have such great ideas, keep them coming!

Janne Marrie January 13, 2011, 2:37 PM

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

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