Memorial Day: More than just a Three-Day Weekend

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Memorial Day lands perfectly on the last Monday in May and is one of the most patriotic days in the U.S. Families and friends gather together from far and wide to celebrate and remember our fallen heroes. Smoke from barbecue grills fills the bright, blue-sky covering our free, great nation. Children’s laughter rival birdsongs as fireworks light up the heavens.

 
Waterloo, NY was the first city to celebrate the holiday. In May of 1868, General John Logan made the day official. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and celebration of our fallen service members. Flags are placed at their graves in state and national cemeteries. Red, white and blue decorations are major staples for any Memorial Day celebration.
 
Take some time before the holiday to stroll through a local flea market, thrift or home goods store for old glory inspired furniture and wall décor. Accent pillows are an excellent way to add patriotic colors to your existing furniture, and this great chevron design adds a modern touch. Decorate your home with red petunias, daisies and some bachelor’s buttons for a fresh spring look. If that is too much for your taste, consider sunflowers in striped red, white and blue vases. The contrasting yellow pops against the traditional patriotic colors. If you are trying to carefully follow the traditions of Memorial Day, poppies are the flower of choice due to John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field. The money received from purchasing poppies from VA hospitals helps maintain state and national rehabilitation and service programs for veterans. So, decorating with poppies not only adds a burst of color but also raises funds for the very cause we are celebrating.
 
If DIY is more your flair, there are numerous decorative items you can make to personalize the holiday such as a Memorial Day wreath. Use different fabrics and other materials to make it your own. Get the kids involved and set up painting projects. Find old wooden material and paint inspirational messages or just stars and stripes to make unique wall décor items. Not only are Mason Jars chic, but they can also be transformed into a variety of articles, such as flower vases or candle votives. These simple projects make a huge statement, and they are a terrific way to kick off the start of the summer season.
 
Many of us have loved ones serving in the military so take your DIY project one step further by preparing military care packages or writing letters to mail to troops overseas.
 
Do not let the festiveness end with pillows and flowers. Be creative with the food you are serving. Share your patriotic spirit by preparing food with ingredients that tie into the color scheme. For example, a chive and bacon bits onion dip; spinach tortellini skewers with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls; southwestern chicken pockets with black beans and corn; a blueberry, strawberry, and feta spinach salad; or a berries tray with yogurt covered pretzels.

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