Fun Ways to be Patriotic on Memorial Day

From Better Homes and Gardens

The last Monday of May is a federal holiday that commemorates fallen United States soldiers. Celebrate Memorial Day by spending time outside with friends and family and remembering those who can't be with us. Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of Memorial Day.

Go to a Memorial Day parade.

On Memorial Day, watch marching bands, fun floats and old-fashioned cars pass by in a festive parade. Whether you're in a small town or a big city, you'll likely have the chance to see a patriotic parade for Memorial Day. Most parades start midmorning, so bring enough lawn chairs for everyone in your group, and arrive early to get a good view. Parade participants will often carry candy to throw to the crowd, so if you have little ones with you, give them a bucket to collect the sweets.

Have a patriotic picnic.

If the weather cooperates on Memorial Day, pack a picnic basket and enjoy an outdoor meal with friends and family. Wraps, cold-cut sandwiches and easy-to-make snacks, such as salsa and cereal mixes, are perfect for a picnic. If you're staying outdoors all day, make sure you pack accordingly—a baseball to toss around and sparklers for when the sun goes down are great ways to keep everyone entertained—and don't forget the sunscreen and bug spray, too.

Watch fireworks on Memorial Day.

Local fireworks displays are a special part of many patriotic holidays. Admiring these spectacular sky explosions is a great way to relax and wind down from a fun-filled afternoon. Bring a blanket large enough for your group (or several folding lawn chairs) and stake out your viewing spot before sundown. Fireworks displays usually start once it's dark—around 8 or 8:30 p.m. in late spring—but you'll want to arrive an hour or so in advance to find a spot (and parking!), especially if you have a large group. Find out where your city has its fireworks display a few days in advance, and see if that area has spots for picnicking or grilling. Check your local newspaper or city website for information. 

Decorate your home in red, white and blue. 

Here are a few easy ways to celebrate Memorial Day with patriotic decorations: 

  • Tie red-and-white fabric to your porch with blue string for a patriotic bunting.
  • Hang an American flag by your front door. If you have a flagpole, the Memorial Day tradition is to fly the American flag at half-staff from dawn until noon.
  • Purchase red, white and blue pinwheels to add festive color to your outdoor potted plants.
  • Make an easy centerpiece with a blue table runner and white ceramic vases filled with bright red dahlias.
  • Pull together easy candle decorations in minutes by wrapping glass votives in alternating red, white and blue rubber bands.
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