Kate’s Corner
May 25 2016

  Memorial Day

Every year on the last Monday in May, family and friends gather together for parades, barbecues and fun to celebrate Memorial Day. Declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1971, Memorial Day is a day to pay respect to the men and women who have died in the service of their country.  It is also a great time to help children understand the importance of the holiday to our country’s history.

Celebrate America and all of the brave men and women who have served and are serving our country. Throughout the world they are recognized as soldiers of strength and courage.  If you have a proud family member who has served in the US military or you have a family member or friend who is on active duty – say thank you! on Memorial Day and every day.  If you have a deceased family members or friends who served, it is a day to honor their memory.   The country mourns the deaths of soldiers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, offering continued healing thoughts and sentiments to all.

Teach your children to identify America and celebrate all Americans.
Our service men and women are represented as a united army under the American flag;
our symbol of freedom.
Fly the American Flag:

According to the U.S. Flag Code website, a U.S. flag flown at night must be illuminated; it should never be flown in bad weather; it can only be flown upside down to signal distress; it must be raised quickly and lowered slowly; and no other flag can be placed above it. The flag should be flown during school days in or near every school building in the United States and its territories.

The stripes represent the 13 original colonies, and the stars represent the 50 states of our land. According to PBS.org, red stands for hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. Those facts teach children that the flag was constructed with purpose — the colors and symbols represent important principles that we live by in America.  Principles that shape our society and citizenship.

Six U.S. flags are planted on the surface of the moon. Crews from the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 lunar missions placed them there (ABC News website). This fact shows kids that the American flag represents the nation as a whole. It was the only artifact that was left on the surface of the moon.  These American flags “fly” on the moon’s surface as a symbol of America’s unity.

Our flag has not always looked like it does now – show children images of “past” American flags and investigate reasons why it has changed (many google sites available).  When Alaska and Hawaii became states 49 and 50 in 1959, President Eisenhower asked for ideas to update the flag.  Robert G. Heft, a 17-year-old student at Lancaster (Ohio) High School, created a flag design for a class project. He submitted his design to the President and it was selected!  Robert Hefty’s flag design is our flag in 2014.

Help children create and “fly” their own American flags:  a simple project – cut strips of red (use construction paper, crepe paper, material…) and glue to a white surface.  Cut a blue square from same medium.  Use star stickers or glue stars children create on the blue field.  Paint with red, white and blue and create stars with glitter.  For more elaborate flag creation ideas go to Pinterest.

Many communities hold parades and celebrations over Memorial Day weekend.   Does yours?  When children celebrate with others in their community, they grow to respect not just the party but the reason for it.  This weekend the party is for past and present superheroes in America; the proud men and women in Service.

Check out your library for community celebrations, then check out these books and many others to teach your children about the American Flag as you honor Memorial Day.

Red White & Blue  The Story of the American Flag. By John Herman (4-8)
The Flag We Love by Pam M. Ryan (4 and up)
The Star Spangled Banner by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire; (3 and up) Bright illustrations with National Anthem text

“The American flag is the most recognized symbol of freedom and democracy in the world.”                Virginia Foxx

Teach your children to be proud Americans.
Teach them to honor America’s real Superheroes
-the brave men and women who have served and are now serving our country.