Celebrating Memorial Day: The Do's and Don'ts!

Celebrating Memorial Day: The Do's and Don'ts!

Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May each year, is a significant American holiday dedicated to honoring and remembering the men and women who have died in military service to the United States. Originally known as Decoration Day, it emerged in the aftermath of the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and necessitated the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.


The observance evolved over time, and after World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honor all American military personnel who died in all wars, not just the Civil War. The holiday became an official federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is marked by various traditions, including visiting cemeteries and memorials, hosting family gatherings, and participating in parades. Many people observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time, known as the National Moment of Remembrance, to reflect on the sacrifices made by military personnel.

Memorial Day also serves as a marker for the beginning of the summer season. In our family, we love to celebrate with outdoor activities like hanging pool side and grilling all the delicious meats! While it is so special to be with friends and family, it we need to also remember the day's primary purpose: to pay tribute to the brave individuals who have laid down their lives to protect the freedoms and values cherished in the United States. This solemn remembrance underscores the holiday’s deep, enduring significance in the nation’s history and collective consciousness.

Since community plays such a pivotal role in Southern culture and hospitality, today we are discussing... drumroll please... 

Do's and Don'ts of Patriotic Decor for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a significant occasion in the United States, a time to honor and remember the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the military. Decorating your home or venue in a patriotic theme is a wonderful way to show your respect and commemorate the holiday. However, it's important to navigate this with sensitivity and respect. Here are some do's and don'ts to guide you through creating tasteful and appropriate Memorial Day decor.

Do: Use Red, White, and Blue

Obviously, what would Memorial Day be if we did not embrace the classic colors of the American flag—red, white, and blue? These colors are synonymous with patriotism and can be beautifully incorporated into your decor. Think tablecloths, napkins, banners, and balloons. Integrate these colors in a balanced way to create a cohesive and festive look. Additionally, consider adding elements like stars, stripes, and other flag motifs to enhance the patriotic theme.

Don't: Use the Flag as a Decoration

Woah, woah! Don't use the flag? What kind of patriot are we? While the American flag is a powerful symbol of patriotism, it should be treated with the utmost respect. Avoid using actual flags as tablecloths, drapes, or any cheesy or cliché form of decor. Re-envision nods to the flag through flag-inspired ideas like color combinations. One example here could be using flag-inspired patterns and designs to capture the essence. Also, hang your American flag proudly as it is intended to be used! Flags situated to a flag pole or nestled into flag mounts or brackets on a porch are perfect to incorporate! If you choose to display a flag, ensure it is done according to flag etiquette, such as flying it from a pole or hanging it correctly.


Do: Create a Memorial Display

A thoughtful way to honor those who have served is by creating a memorial display. This could include photos, candles, and red, white, and blue flowers. Consider adding a tribute table with a framed poem, a list of names of fallen soldiers, or a memory book for guests to write messages of gratitude. Such displays serve as a beautiful focal point and remind everyone of Memorial Day's true purpose.

Don't: Overload on Commercial Decorations

While it may be tempting to go all out with commercial patriotic decorations, less is often more. Overloading on store-bought items can sometimes come off as insincere or overly commercialized. Instead, opt for a mix of DIY crafts and meaningful decor that reflects the day's solemnity. Handmade wreaths, homemade banners, and personalized touches can make your decor more heartfelt and genuine.

Do: Incorporate Fun Foods! Pinterest is Your Friend!

I don't know about you, but I love to search fun decorating ideas on Pinterest! Pinterest truly is the holy grail for all things creative, decorative, and unique. If you are hosting a Memorial Day get-together this year, then check out some of these amazing ideas!

 Charcuterie Board (source: Savorrecipes.com) 


American Flag Foods

When it comes to flag decor, I do think it has a tendency to go overboard, but food seems like the funnest way to showcase your patriotism! There are so many options when it comes to food being used to create a flag. You can use red, white, and blue cupcakes, finger foods, or anything that creates that cohesive look! Check out this example: 

Do: Involve the Community

As mentioned earlier, Memorial Day is a communal event; involving your neighbors and friends can make your decorations even more special. Organize a community flag-raising ceremony, a potluck with patriotic-themed dishes, or a group activity where everyone contributes to the decor. This not only spreads the workload but also fosters a sense of unity and shared purpose.

The Southern spirit of hospitality shines through various charitable activities on Memorial Day. Many communities organize events to support veterans and their families, such as fundraisers, charity runs, and volunteer opportunities. These acts of kindness not only honor the memory of those who have passed but also provide tangible support to those who continue to serve. By blending reverence with celebration and community spirit, Memorial Day in the South becomes a deeply meaningful occasion that honors the past while nurturing the bonds that define and strengthen the region.

By following these do's and don'ts, you can create a respectful and beautiful Memorial Day decor that honors the memory of those who have served while bringing people together in a spirit of patriotism and remembrance.

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