Many people celebrate Memorial Day in many different ways. Some choose to go to the lake, some barbeque with friends and family, others choose to use it as another day off from work. It is widely known that Memorial Day is the kick-off to summer and people get ready for a summer full of activities around the Memorial Day Weekend. But what are we supposed to do on Memorial Day? Why is it such an important day?

I have for years known that Memorial Day was set up to remember those that have fought for this country, but I never knew how we were supposed to celebrate Memorial Day other than having a barbeque or going swimming. With a little digging on the web I was able to find out where and why Memorial Day started and how we should celebrate the holiday.

I first stopped at Wikipedia and learned that Memorial Day began after the civil war as an act of remembrance and reconciliation. After World War I, Memorial Day became a day of memory and reflection as more and more people would visit the graves of their deceased relatives - regardless of military service. My quest to find out what we SHOULD be doing on Memorial Day didn't stop there.

I found a great website with all the information you need to truly observe Memorial Day and give honor to those that have bravely fought for our country and lost their lives. has some awesome information on their site including resources for grief and healing, MIA/POW, and how to observe Memorial Day.

According to the site,we should do the following things to properly observe Memorial Day:

Visit the graves of our fallen heroes and lay flowers or place flags.

If you have an American Flag that you fly, you should fly it at half staff until Noon, then raise it to full mast.

If you have a POW/MIA flag, you should fly it on your flag pole with the American Flag

At 3pm, you should honor a moment of silence and join the National Moment of Remembrance established by President Bill Clinton in 2000

And most importantly, always keep the widows, widowers and orphans of our fallen soldiers and disabled veterans.

Most of us will be with friends and family on Memorial Day and that is a great way to spend Memorial Day, but please don't forget the true reason we get that day off work, we are allowed to be with those family and friends and have the lives we have - it is because of those that serve this country to allow us to keep our freedoms we sometimes take for granted. It is because of those soldiers that have fallen, been injured or returned from war a different man or woman. Those men and women deserve respect year round, not just one day of the year. The least we can do as citizens is remember them while we have our barbeques and our trips to the lake.