Memorial Day weekend brings Americans together for a day of reflection as we honor those who gave their lives for our freedom. Memorial Day weekend also signals the start of summer vacation season with family and friends.
Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette and modern manners expert, who is the founder of Access to Culture, based in Austin, Texas, offers these tips to acknowledge history and incorporate respect for our fallen in an authentic, yet contemporary recognition of Memorial Day.
Invite a Veteran: Take the time to thank a veteran, invite them to your gathering, or take them to a meal early in the day. Show your appreciation year-round by volunteering at the local VFW or at a VA hospital.
National Moment of Remembrance: The National Moment of Remembrance was created by President William Clinton to observe a full minute of silence at 3 p.m. (local time everywhere) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom. Plan a pause in the festivities a few minutes before 3 p.m. so that guests have time to settle down before sharing a moment of reverent silence.
Remember the Reason: Before guests dive into the dip, thank them for joining your celebration and say a few words regarding the true holiday meaning. Recognize all veterans present and thank them for their sacrifice. While Memorial Day is a day of family fun, it's important to remember those who gave their all.
Something for everyone: Include options for every guest, including those with special dietary needs and kiddos who are picky eaters, so that no one's celebrating on an empty stomach. Fruit and vegetable platters, gluten-free buns, grilled veggies for vegetarians, and dairy-free treats are good options for those accommodating special dietary needs. Avoid summer dehydration with iced tea, sugar-free lemonade for those who can't drink soda, juice boxes for the kiddos and plenty of water.
Red Poppies: Save the red, white and blue for the Fourth of July and instead go bold. With a nod to history serve red poppy-themed desserts, such as poppy cupcakes or lemon poppyseed cake. Many bakeries prepare Memorial Day treats, so consider decorated red poppy cookies.
Fun in the Sun: While the adults gather in the shade, the kids are ready to play. Set up a safe activity area with water soakers, and water balloons to stay cool. For the kids who enjoy sports, have a basket of soccer balls, jump ropes and volleyballs handy.