Memorial Day 2023 – How To Commemorate the Day

  • Drew Poplin

“This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home. This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.” – Tamra Bolton

May 29th will mark the 155th year that Memorial Day, formally known as “Decoration Day,” will be recognized nationwide. That is over 150 years of commemorating the individuals who have sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedoms that we, as American citizens, enjoy today. Knowing the cost that was paid, we must ask ourselves how we can honor the fallen. Fortunately, there are many ways you can participate.

Ways to Commemorate

Below we’ve listed four different ways to participate in this Memorial Day. I’d encourage you to consider which ones you would like to participate in.



1. Educate Yourself and Others About Memorial Day

It is imperative to be aware of what exactly you are commemorating before you make any specific plans. We wrote last year about what you need to know about Memorial Day and its history. Once you gain a solid understanding of why Memorial Day is so important, it is then your turn to educate those who may not know. If you have children, explain to them why they might not have school on Monday.

2. Participate in Memorial Day Traditions

Over the years, there have been a number of different traditions that have come to be associated with Memorial Day. The National Memorial Day Parade will be taking place in our nation’s capital from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Towns across the country will also be having their own various events, so be sure to check your local newspaper to see what might be happening in your area.

Perhaps a more somber way to participate in Memorial Day would be to visit your local veterans’ cemetery. There are over 100 national cemeteries across the United States. Unfortunately, with many of these graves being older, there are many that have not been decorated with flowers for some time. To find a veterans’ cemetery near you, click here.



3. Get Creative

A trend that has popped up over the last few years is that many cities have held Memorial Day races. These are great ways to get out, be active, and raise awareness. If running isn’t your thing, consider starting a new Memorial Day tradition. Perhaps your idea will serve as inspiration for others to do the same.

4. Different Acts of Remembrance

It is no coincidence that you see people wearing red poppies on Memorial Day. Since WWI, the red poppy has become a symbol of remembrance of the sacrifice that many soldiers have made. Many charities that assist veterans will sell red poppies, so that is a great way you can participate on a financial level.

You might be aware that on Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. there is a National Moment of Remembrance. It is strongly encouraged that you use that time to contemplate the significance and importance of remembering the fallen.



After Memorial Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Ultimately, while Memorial Day is important to participate in, our gratitude should extend beyond the confines of the holiday. After all, for the families of the fallen, every day is a day of remembrance. Consider supporting these Gold Star Families in whatever way you can. Learn how the USO offers its support for these families here.

Additionally, we should be cognizant of the fact that there are many veterans living who are in need of financial, medical, and emotional care. Use the free time you might be granted on Memorial Day to research ways you can support veterans in your community.

SDI Helps Military Students Succeed

Sonoran Desert Institute is proud to support America’s military personnel. Thanks to the diligent work of our Military & Veteran Services team, we are able to support our active duty and veteran students as they seek their education. To learn more about the ways we are able to assist our military students, click here.

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