There are so many different volunteer opportunities during holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Earth Day. However, many people forget that celebrations such as Memorial Day are more than just opportunities to cook out and spend time with family.
What is Memorial Day?
Unlike Veterans Day, on which we celebrate the men and women who have served or are serving in the military, Memorial Day honors those who have lost their lives serving our country. As things stand, 1.3 million members of the armed services have made this ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day Volunteer Opportunities
There are many ways to donate your money, time, and energy on this holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May. From placing flags and flowers to helping a grieving family member, you can show you care and feel good about volunteering for a great cause. Here are a few Memorial Day volunteer opportunities you may want to consider:
- Help with a parade.
- Put U.S. flags on fallen soldiers’ graves.
- Place flowers on their tombstones.
- Reach out to somebody who lost a loved one.
1. Volunteer for a Parade
Memorial Day is a time when parades are held in many cities and communities. While every parade is different, you can find out how to lend a hand by talking to your local Chamber of Commerce or city council. Opportunities may include directing traffic, dealing with permits, cleaning up afterward, and more.
2. Place Flags
Organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Affairs give volunteers the opportunity to place U.S. flags on the graves of fallen soldiers in commemoration of their sacrifice.
3. Place Flowers
You can also help to honor the fallen by placing flowers on their tombstones during the holiday. Organizations like Memorial Day Flowers and the Memorial Day Foundation give volunteers the chance to donate their time, money, or a combination of both so that each soldier’s grave can have a flower or a wreath placed on it. You can even receive a pin for your efforts to cherish for years to come.
4. Reach Out to a Survivor
Do you know people who have lost a loved one in the service of the country? Reach out to them on Memorial Day. Make them food, take them out, or even just let them cry on your shoulder.
Memorial Day is hard for many spouses, children, and friends. Help them grieve by listening to their stories and offering your support.
It’s hard to lose someone who is dear to you. But having a support system can ease the burden, especially on this solemn holiday.
If you don’t know any survivors, there are still ways you can contribute. Check out the Directory of Veterans Service Organizations to get ideas of how you can help. Many of the listed organizations allow volunteers to participate in several different ways.
Why You Should Volunteer
No one wants to be forgotten. Honoring those who laid down their lives for our country means we haven’t forgotten them and that we never will. Still not convinced on the greatness of volunteering for Memorial Day? Many people have done it and are making a difference in the lives of military families.
Ryan Guina, the founder and editor of the Military Wallet, has served for more than 10 years. He points out that volunteers are often needed in places such as Veterans Administration hospitals and veterans’ cemeteries and during Memorial Day events and ceremonies.
Doug Nordman, who served for 20 years and is the founder of the Military Guide, volunteers year-round and encourages others to do the same through organizations such as the Fisher House Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project.
If you want to help, get involved with the families of soldiers by volunteering for family readiness programs. Not only can you serve a community of people who need the support, but you can also build lifelong friendships with those whose loved ones represent the best the country has to offer.