Memorial Day is no doubt America’s most solemn holiday. A day set aside to remember and memorialize the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country, Memorial Day is about so much more than family gatherings, outdoor barbecues, and pool openings. Learn how you can honor the true meaning of Memorial Day this year and be inspired by the stories of our heroic residents who have served in America’s Armed Forces.
5 Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day While Social Distancing
This Memorial Day will look different than past celebrations and commemorations. Typically marked with parades, family gatherings, and block parties that are now not recommended because of social distancing guidelines, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom can still be done from a healthy distance.
1. Lay flowers at a local veterans cemetery
If local florists are open in your community, order flowers and go by yourself or with a small group and appropriate PPE to lay flowers on the graves of veterans. If you can not do this, Memorial Day Flowers Foundation is accepting donations for flowers to lay on veteran graves around the country, including Arlington National Cemetery.
2. Share a patriotic message with chalk
As the past few months have placed more people at home, chalk art has taken off. Use this time to write and draw supportive and patriotic messages outside your home or community.
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3. Make a donation to a veteran-focused non-profit
There is an abundance of non-profits dedicated to helping our military veterans. Some of the top-rated veteran charities from Charity Navigator are:
- National Veterans Foundation
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
- Semper Fi & America’s Fund
- Homes For Our Troops
- Gary Sinise Foundation
- Freedom Service Dogs of America
4. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert
On Sunday, May 24, 2020, the National Memorial Day Concert will be aired on PBS throughout the country. It will also be available after airing and streamed on certain platforms including YouTube and Facebook. This year’s concert will include appearances from General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.), Trace Adkins, Mary McCormack, the National Symphony Orchestra, and more.
5. Listen to a story of service
One of the most meaningful acts of service is a listening ear. While some veterans are hesitant to share their stories and relieve war, others are more willing to talk and pass their stories of service down through the generations. Spend time with a veteran or check out Story Corps and discover the voices and stories of military members from past and current wars.
Honoring Veteran Stories at Leisure Care
We are honored to have so many veterans living at Leisure Care communities across the country. They inspire us to serve others more and strengthen our devotion to excellence. Read their stories of service below.
Myrle Wilkerson, Russellville Park
Myrle served in the Korean War on a large seagoing tugboat doing rescue and salvage. His responsibilities included rescuing people off beaches in typhoons, rescuing downed pilots from freezing waters, clearing out mine fields, and supporting minesweepers by giving them fresh water and food.
Ike Markowitz, The Carillon at Boulder Creek
Ike was a navigator on the B-17 for the 15th Army Air Corps, which would eventually become today’s United States Air Force. Stationed in Italy, Markowitz was the lead navigator on over 20 of his 35 missions.
Ted Siekerman, Fairwinds – Spokane
On November 6, 1950, while the United States Marine Corporal Ted Siekerman was serving our country during the Korean War, he passed out after sustaining mortar shrapnel throughout his body. He woke up once on a Jeep ambulance and then a second time in a Korean hospital. The doctor attending to him said that he would never use his left arm again and would not work another day in his life. Ted overcame the odds and his positive outlook continues to inspire a life of service.
Leonard Carson, Treeo – Orem
Leonard Carson fought at the Battle of the Bulge with General George Patton. He was recently recognized by Liberty Warriors for his service. Carson, who received a flag from Liberty Warriors, says being remembered, “It means about everything. At 98 years old, it means a lot.” Carson’s flag was flown on an Apache Attack Helicopter over Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Harold William Golde, Treeo – South Ogden
Harold was assigned to General MacArthur’s forces as a radioman and later as chaplain’s assistant, a role he found true purpose during the liberation of the Philippines in October 1944.
How will you commemorate Memorial Day this year? Share your stories and photos with us. We’d love to hear from you!
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