Memorial Day, for most of us, will be different this year. The meaning, however, does not change.
I’m calling on The American Legion Family to encourage communities far and wide to pay tribute to our nation’s fallen heroes at dusk May 25, Memorial Day, by lighting candles of honor and placing them on front porches. Such a display will remind everyone that our resolve to honor those who served before us will continue even as social-distancing measures limit our ability to perform traditional Memorial Day remembrances.
We must adapt and overcome the pandemic in order to pay our respects to the true meaning of Memorial Day.
The manner and placement of the candles of honor are up to each individual. If possible, I recommend using a front porch as a visible reminder of the price that was paid for freedom.
Color options for consideration could include:
A red candle to remember the blood shed in battle for the protection of our freedoms.
A white candle to keep our POWs/MIAs ever in our thoughts and prayers as we await their return home
A blue candle to salute the memories of those who made it home but are no longer with us.
However you choose, whether it’s one candle or three, I ask that photos of those candles be shared on social media, tagging The American Legion National Headquarters and using the hashtag #candlesofhonor so our message will reach families everywhere. An additional option is to show your gratitude by having each member of a family or group hold up a sign spelling out a message of Memorial Day. WE SHALL NEVER FORGET would be a good choice.
Also, this year, remember our Virtual Memorial Day page on legion.org/legiontown. Please share with our national audiences the story of someone who served in the Armed Forces who holds special meaning to you. Share who you will be remembering this Memorial Day on social media using hashtag #VirtualMemorialDay.
And let’s not forget that Friday is National Poppy Day. While our poppy distribution plans may be different this year, it’s also an opportunity to innovate. The American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters is planning a Facebook watch party May 22 at noon EDT. American Legion Family members across the country are also planning other low-contact ways to remember the fallen and keep faith with the disabled through the symbol of our official flower, the red poppy.
No matter how we remember this year, the most important message we need to send is that we will never forget.