Memorial Day Activities

Instructor: Nicky Davis
Below, find examples of Memorial Day activities for both inside and outside the classroom. These activities include ideas to connect students with historical celebrations of Memorial Day, as well as those that will acknowledge and honor their own personal ties to military service.

Make Memorial Day Poppies

In 1915, Moira Michael published a poem that invoked the red poppy as a symbol of the blood shed by soldiers during the Civil War. Michael then began the trend of wearing and selling red Memorial Day poppies as a sign of solidarity. Using this movement as inspiration, craft your own Memorial poppies out of tissue paper, and decorate the classroom with them. Students can make poppy pins to wear, and you can create garlands of poppies to honor the veterans in students' families.

Recognize and Celebrate The National Moment of Remembrance

Established in the year 2000, The National Moment of Remembrance asks all Americans to take a moment of silence at 3pm local time to honor the lives lost on the battlefield. Create a celebration that centers on this moment of silence. Perhaps students can share poems of remembrance and reverence prior to the moment of silence, and then spend time journaling about what they felt during the moment itself. You may also work the moment into a lesson on Civil War history.

Visit War Monuments and Memorial Sites

One way to honor the meaning of Memorial Day is to visit war memorial sites. Seeing all the names of those lost, and having a shared experience can be a profound way to celebrate this holiday. Students may also bring flowers or other items to decorate the sites, in keeping with the original traditions of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day.

Learn and Sing Commemorative Battle Hymns

In the first celebrations of Memorial Day, battle songs and hymns were often sung while decorating the gravestones of soldiers. Learning these songs and singing them in celebration of this date can be a meaningful way to connect students with the history of the holiday.

Go to a Memorial Day Parade

In many large cities around the US, Memorial Day parades are held to support soldiers and honor those who have given their lives in American war efforts. Attending a Memorial Day parade is another great way to join in the collective experience of the holiday, and pay tribute to American servicemen and women.

Learning the History of Memorial Day

Check out the course about The American Civil War Era to learn about the origin of Memorial Day, and the history of political events surrounding the Civil War. Find in-depth video lessons, and interactive quizzes to help you retain facts.

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