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What families can do to honor fallen veterans this Memorial Day

The freedoms people living in the United States are afforded would not have been possible to provide if not for the brave efforts and undying commitment of the many individuals who have served in the nation’s armed forces. American military personnel have played vital roles in securing freedoms for their fellow citizens as well as individuals overseas.

Each year on the final Monday in May, the United States commemorates military personnel who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. Those individuals made the ultimate sacrifice, and Memorial Day is a way to honor them and thank their families for their selfless acts. This Memorial Day, families can embrace various measures to honor fallen veterans.

• Visit a local veterans cemetery. The United Service Organization (USO) notes that most states have national veterans cemeteries. Though some veterans cemeteries are open only to family members of service personnel, others are open to the general public. Visiting a veterans cemetery is a great way to honor fallen military members and ensure the memory of their service and sacrifice is not forgotten on Memorial Day.

• Celebrate veterans over Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day weekend is now synonymous with getaways and backyard barbecues. By taking time out during the weekend to honor fallen veterans, families can ensure the meaning behind the holiday is not lost in the midst of celebrations with family and friends. Take time out during a family barbecue to discuss a family member who served or, if traveling, make an effort to visit a veterans memorial along your travel route.

• Help raise funds for veterans organizations. Fun runs or community Memorial Day walks may benefit local veterans organizations that help service members in need. Many service members may need help dealing with the deaths of friends or family members who died while serving in the armed forces, and veterans organizations may provide such help or direct funds to groups that do. That makes participation in events that benefit veterans organizations a great way to honor current military personnel and those who have served in the past, including those who died in service of their country.

• Teach youngsters about the role of the armed forces. There’s a lot competing for the attention of today’s young people, and that can make it easy to overlook the very freedoms that make the United States such a unique country throughout world history. Parents and guardians can emphasize the role the armed forces play in procuring and protecting freedoms in the United States and emphasize the significance of the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to ensure a higher quality of life for all U.S. residents.

Memorial Day commemorates military personnel who died while serving in the armed forces. There is much families can do to ensure those sacrifices are never forgotten or taken for granted.

Special to The Herald – Gadsden County News Service