How will you honor Memorial Day?

27 05 2011

by Vanessa Trafas

When you think of Memorial Day, what comes to mind?  For me, I remember family barbeques and family outings where we would catch up and enjoy the extra day that was tacked onto the weekend.

Obviously, the history of Memorial Day plays a huge role in making it an important weekend.  It is the one day that we have designated for the remembrance of those who have died while serving our country.  And while it may be a sad day of remembrance, many of us have turned this weekend into a celebration.  Not a celebration of those who have died, but instead a celebration of those who we are grateful to still have.  In remembrance of the fallen soldiers we appreciate the people in our lives that have had an impact and have been there for us throughout the good and bad. So, in light of this day of remembrance and appreciation, we would like to share with you some ways to spend your Memorial Day weekend celebrating your friends and family.

Family Barbeque/Picnic – When I was younger my family and I would have a barbeque at the closest park and play softball, soccer, or just pass the football around.  I will admit that when I was younger I didn’t necessarily want to go out and have a picnic; instead I wanted to stay home and watch TV all day.  It definitely takes a lot less energy to stay home then it does to go out.  But, when we got to the park and started barbequing, talking, and playing games I would enjoy myself and enjoy spending this time with my family.  Barbeques create that fun-loving atmosphere that is well deserved after a tough week of work and is a great way to both unwind and connect with loved ones.

Sporting Event – We all love to go out and support our favorite sports teams, so what better way to do it than with close family and friends on a holiday weekend.  I recently attended a San Francisco Giants baseball game with one of my very close friends and it was AMAZING.  I had been to baseball games before but not to one where I knew almost everyone’s name on the team.  Yes, of course it made it even more exciting watching the recent World Series champs play a game against their cross town rivals, the Oakland A’s but it was the atmosphere at the game that made everything that much more AMAZING.  There were families, friends, couples, professors, students, and more and everyone was enjoying themselves.  It is these interactions between our close friends and family that we will cherish and rooting for the same team side-by-side strengthens those bonds.

Local Event – There are so many events going on during Memorial Day weekend that it could be hard to choose that one event that is just right for the entire family.  There are concerts, parades, festivals, and the list goes on and on.  Recently, I spoke to my sister about what she was doing this Memorial Day weekend (we do not live in the same city) and she told me about the Scottish festival that they’ve attended for the last three years.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go with my family to this event but I look forward to it in the future (hopefully, next Memorial Day).  Her underlying message about the festival was: “oh my gosh, the Scottish festival is SO much FUN, I can’t wait to go this year!”.   Through this simple choice, my family has started a new tradition on Memorial Day weekend and they all look forward to spending that weekend with each other and enjoying the Scottish music and dances.   So, don’t be wary about attending festivals, they can give you a new experience and you may just learn something new about another culture (my family is not Scottish).

Dinner Celebration – If you’re not up for an entire day of activity and want to take it slow on your three day weekend, then having a group for dinner is a great alternative.  Get the whole family together and enjoy the night just talking around the dinner table.  Make it a potluck and have guests bring food; there are plenty of delicious Memorial Day recipes online.  If cooking dinner is too much work, then eat out or order take-out.  The most important thing is not where you eat but whom you are sharing your meal with.

One-on-One – So, you’re not up for an outing with a big group and you would rather spend some quality time with someone special.  Of course, we all love our families but sometimes we need vacations from them as well.  Take Memorial Day weekend to spend time with one person who you really connect with.  Maybe you haven’t been able to spend as much time with this person as you would like and the extra day of the weekend is just what you need to make up for lost time.  Let them know how important they are and what they mean to you and how they have been exceptional in your life.  Sometimes, it is those who are there for us most often whom we forget to truly appreciate.

It is these moments that we spend together that truly show us how important our friends and family are in our lives.  They are our support system, the people we go to when we aren’t having a good day or when we just need to talk.  As time moves by we get fewer opportunities like these.  This makes it even more special when we are able to spend this time with those who are close to us.  For the last four years I have not been able to spend Memorial Day weekend with my family.  I have instead used this weekend to catch up on work, like many of us who have busy schedules and rarely get the time to relax.  It is for this reason that we must take these moments to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

So go and spend your weekend doing something fun with those you love!