6 Ways To Celebrate Memorial Day Virtually & Pay Tribute To American Service Members

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How To Celebrate Memorial Day Virtually & Pay Tribute To American Service Members

They protect us always, so we should protect them this year.

With stay-at-home orders and social distancing in place, this year’s Memorial Day weekend is going to be a lot different than the celebrations we are used to.

Memorial Day has become a time to gather with friends and family, host a barbecue with red, white and blue decorations, and party in honor of those who serve our country. These are all activities that we will gladly resume in the future, but on May 25th, the best thing you can do is obey social distancing rules and commemorate our great service people from home.

What is Memorial Day?

RELATED: 5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Our Veterans, In Honor Of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors and mourns the military personnel that have died while serving the United States Armed Forces.

It can be traced back to the end of the Civil War in 1865, when communities in both the North and the South began an annual tradition of decorating the mass graves in which they had buried their dead soldiers. This tradition of visiting military graves on the last Monday in May has been carried on throughout the numerous wars and battles America has fought in.

Memorial Day is often celebrated by gathering to place wreaths and flowers on the graves and memorials of the military dead.

This will not be an option this year, but we should still use this time to reflect on the lives lost through the years and honor the service people who are still with us. That's what Memorial Day is truly about.

With restrictions this year, you may wonder how to celebrate Memorial Day, and show support and respect for the military.

This year, many veterans might find themselves alone with minimal support, and the families of troops deployed abroad might need a little extra help. These are the people at the core of this holiday, and showing them care from afar makes all the difference.

You can assist from a distance and still grill up a Memorial Day feast to celebrate. But virtual support has never been easier, and it comes in many shapes and forms, not just financial!

To ensure our brave service people aren't forgotten during this pandemic, here are 6 ways you can help out the military, their families, and veterans, while also staying safe at home.

1. Check in with veterans and service people.

Whether it’s a relative, a neighbor, or an old friend, everyone needs someone to talk to. Offering a listening ear through the phone will let them know you’re here for them.

Military families and injured veterans might be struggling to access essential supplies. So, ask them if they need anything before you head out to stock up for your Memorial Day grill.

Even taking a couple of minutes to say, “Thank you for your service” could make all the difference in someone’s day — and it costs nothing. Send them a text or post a thank you note to brighten their day. 

2. Send a care package.

If someone close to you is on active duty, consider sending them a little box of goodies as a way of showing your love.

If there’s one thing we’ve all realized from quarantine, it’s that it's hard to spend long periods of time away from loved ones. Military members will appreciate a package from home.

Alternatively, SupportOurTroops offers a care package service to keep soldiers supplied with essential items. 

RELATED: 3 Things All Military Families Can Do When Loving Your Soldier Gets Tough

3. Learn about Veteran Support Services.

Educating ourselves about what service people go through and how it impacts them helps us to respect them — not just on Memorial Day, but every day.

The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is working hard to support service people in need, providing food and shelter to those suffering most during these difficult times.

If you can make a financial contribution to these efforts, please consider doing so. Otherwise, you can contact your local branch to see how you can lend a helping hand.

Other organizations like the Veterans Crisis Line offer guidance on how to protect the mental health of our beloved veterans. 

4. Try a CrossFit Hero Workout.

Unless you're a service person, it's impossible to understand fully what these brave Americans go through. But honoring a fallen soldier by emulating their workout is a healthy and free way to get insight into their physical and mental endurance.

CrossFit Hero Workouts are submitted by the families and loved ones of soldiers who died for their country. And they can be performed as an act of honor. 

5. Observe the Moment of Remembrance.

Even though Memorial Day parades will not go ahead this year, the annual Moment of Remembrance will and should be still observed from home.

One minute of silence at 3 PM local time allows us to take a moment to commemorate the lives lost during wars, and the freedom these lives have granted us. Some towns across the country have arranged virtual celebrations in place of local parades, so make sure to look into events hosted online in your area. 

6. Support veteran art.

In addition to providing service for our country, so many veterans have given us literature and art to express their experience.

The Veteran Art Movement provides a platform for artists who once served to showcase their work. Check out their artist network to purchase from these talented veterans.

Many veterans have also documented their lives in literary forms, so consider supporting a writer who served in the military. I recommend Locked-in: A Soldier and Civilian's Struggle with Invisible Wounds by Carolyn Furdek, who bravely shares her struggles with mental health as a soldier. 

RELATED: 15 Fun, Cheap Date Ideas For Memorial Day Weekend

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Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.