Tips for Thought

A Solemn Salute

What is the Significance of Memorial Day? 

As spring edges towards the warmth of summer, Americans begin to prepare for a deeply important day on the calendar. Memorial Day, May 29, 2023, is a potent and poignant occasion. It’s a day filled with a complex blend of emotions, including pride, sadness, gratitude, and respect for the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in military service.

Here are some points about the significance of Memorial Day:

  • Honoring the Fallen: At its core, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Across the nation, people pay their respects to these brave men and women.
  • Recognizing the Cost of Freedom: Memorial Day reminds us of the cost of our freedoms. It’s a day to reflect on the value of these freedoms and the sacrifices made to protect them.
  • Celebrating National Unity: Memorial Day is also a day of unity. Regardless of our differences, we unite to honor and remember those who served.
  • Supporting the Families: Memorial Day allows us to extend our support and gratitude to the families of the fallen. Their loss is profound; Memorial Day is a time to acknowledge that.
  • Inspiring Future Generations: Lastly, Memorial Day serves as a poignant lesson to future generations about the bravery, honor, and duty of those who served in the military. It inspires a sense of patriotism and appreciation for the armed forces.

How is Memorial Day Observed?

A story.

As the sun peeks over the horizon on the last Monday of May, a profound hush settles over the United States. Memorial Day, a day etched in reverence and respect begins. A national symphony of remembrance swells as flags are reverently lowered to half-staff. This solemn act paints a silent tableau of mourning in honor of the brave souls who have fallen in service to our country.

Like dutiful sentinels, these flags will remain at half-staff until noon. They whisper stories of courage, sacrifice, and heroic men and women who answered the call of duty and paid the ultimate price. The half-mast flags serve as poignant reminders of those who have given their all, those who are gone but who continue to live in the hearts of a grateful nation.

But as the clock ticks towards noon, a transformation takes place. The flags that have been mourning now rise to full staff, fluttering against the azure sky. This act is a tribute to the living, a salute to the servicemen and women who continue to protect the nation. It is a symbol of resilience, a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who serve and those who continue the legacy of their fallen comrades.

There are gatherings, too, in cities and towns across the country. Parades march down main streets, with brass bands playing patriotic tunes that hang in the air, a musical tribute to those no longer with us. Wreath-laying ceremonies occur at war memorials, each flower a silent word of thanks.

In homes, people light candles, their flickering flames a testament to the memories that never fade. Families visit gravesites adorned with flags and flowers, their tributes to their lost loved ones.

Through these rituals and ceremonies, the echoes of gratitude, respect, and remembrance reverberate across the country, uniting us in our shared legacy of freedom and our collective debt to those who have safeguarded it. In this way, we observe Memorial Day, a day of reflection, honor, and heartfelt thanks. It’s more than a date on the calendar; it’s an essential chapter in our nation’s ongoing story.

What Role Do Businesses Play on Memorial Day?

Recognizing the significant sacrifices made by veterans and their families, many businesses extend a helping hand over Memorial Day weekend. In addition, numerous outlets, from retail stores to restaurants, offer special discounts to veterans as a token of appreciation.

What Types of Discounts are Offered to Veterans?

There is a diverse range of Memorial Day deals and promotions available to veterans. Some offer a percentage discount on goods or services, while others provide a free meal, product, or service to veterans over the holiday weekend. In addition, nationwide chains such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster traditionally offer various deals to honor our veterans. 

How Can We Best Honor Our Veterans This Memorial Day?

However, amid these commercial gestures, it’s essential to remember that Memorial Day is about honoring those who served and died for our freedoms. Each discount and special offer symbolizes appreciation and a heartfelt thank you from a grateful nation. So, on this Memorial Day 2023, please take a moment to reflect, remember, and express your gratitude for those who gave their all. 

Some of the things you can do:

  • Attend a Memorial Day Service: Communities organize memorial services or parades across the country. Attending these events pays tribute to our fallen heroes and unifies us as a nation.
  • Fly the American Flag: Display the Stars and Stripes at half-staff until noon as a sign of mourning, then raise it to full-staff to honor the living servicemen and women.
  • Visit a Veterans’ Cemetery or Memorial: Visit a local veterans’ cemetery or memorial. Lay flowers, plant flags, or spend a few moments reflecting quietly.
  • Reach Out to a Military Family: If you know a family who has lost a loved one in service or even those with someone currently serving, reach out to them. Your words of comfort and appreciation can make a big difference.
  • Donate to Veterans’ Causes: Some numerous charities and organizations support veterans and their families. Consider donating as a practical way of saying ‘Thank You.’
  • Observe the National Moment of Remembrance: Established by Congress, this occurs at 3:00 PM local time on Memorial Day. It’s a minute when we are all encouraged to pause in an act of national unity.
  • Share their Stories: Use social media to share the stories of veterans, servicemen, and women you know. This personalizes their sacrifices and educates others about the realities of military service.
  • Utilize Veteran-Supportive Businesses: On Memorial Day, consider shopping at or using services from businesses offering discounts or deals to veterans. This supports the businesses that support our veterans.

Every day is an excellent day to thank a veteran, but Memorial Day holds a special place in our hearts. It’s more than a federal holiday. It’s a national tribute to our fallen heroes and a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom.