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While many consider Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of the summer season, the holiday holds a deeper meaning that as Americans, we should never forget. Deemed a national holiday in 1971 and observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is meant to observe and honor all those who have died or served during any American war.

Below are a few ways you can honor the day at home.

Hang an American flag, but do it right. Memorial Day is a day of mourning, so hang an American flag outside your home, but be sure to only raise it halfway in the morning. Specifically, from sunrise to 12 noon, hang the flag at half-staff to commemorate those who have died, then raise it to full height at 12 p.m. to honor living veterans.

Plant a tree. If you’d like to make a long-standing memorial to veterans, enlist your family to help plant a tree in your yard and think of those who have served every time you care for it.

Plant poppies. Poppies are the unofficial, but widely recognized, memorial symbol for soldiers who have died in conflict. Originally, the symbol was taken from the World War I poem “In Flanders Field.” Plant poppies outside your home on Memorial Day in memory of those who have lost their lives.

Take a moment at 3 p.m. The National Moment of Remembrance Act, passed in 2000, deems 3 p.m. the official time of day to pause and reflect on the veterans in your life and those that came before.

Read the original Decoration Day proclamation. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and the official Decoration Day proclamation is only 500 words long. Find it online and read it on Memorial Day to pause and reflect.

What other ideas do you have for honoring Memorial Day?

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