Between barbecuing and sunbathing, take some time to acknowledge the real reason for your Memorial Day off -- honoring those who died during military service.
Step 1: Decorate a grave Sponsor a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation ("www.memorialdayfoundation.org":http://www.memorialdayfoundation.org). On Memorial Day weekend, your bouquet will be placed at war memorials on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
TIP: You may dedicate the bouquet to a loved one who died in service of our country.
Step 2: Adopt a grave Ask your local schools to participate in an 'adopt a grave' program, in which each class is assigned to take care of a soldier’s grave by keeping it debris free and decorated with flowers.
Step 3: Make a donation Make a donation to a charity that supports the wives and children of soldiers killed in combat.
TIP: The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is rated A+ by Charity Watch, an organization that monitors non-profits.
Step 4: Fly a flag at half-staff Fly an American flag at half-staff.
Step 5: Visit a war memorial Visit a war museum or memorial, such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
Step 6: Attend a religious service Attend a religious service and offer prayers for those who died protecting our country, as well as those who currently are in the armed services.
Step 7: Pause at 3 p.m. Take part in the 'National Moment of Remembrance' by pausing at 3 p.m. your local time to think about the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Step 8: Lobby to reinstate May 30th as Memorial Day Consider writing your congressional representatives, urging them to restore May 30th as Memorial Day -- rather than the last Monday in May. Many veterans feel that always observing Memorial Day on a three-day weekend is disrespectful.
FACT: Memorial Day was originally called 'Decoration Day' because the purpose of the holiday was to honor dead servicemen by decorating their graves.