Sometimes it's easy to let our national holidays slip by without considering their significance. With Memorial Day weekend marking the end of the semester for most schools in Texas, and marking the start of the summer season for all, it's certainly one of the more celebratory weekends of our calendar year.

But the origins of Memorial Day are solemn. This holiday grew out of the aftermath of the American Civil War as a way to commemorate soldiers who died in that battle. In 1971, Memorial Day was designated a federal holiday and now encompasses honoring all who have died while serving in the US Armed Forces.

Below are a few ways to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country.


Display the American flag

This is a simple way to convey remembrance. When a flag is hung flat against a wall, the union (the stars) should always hang in the lefthand corner. When outside, the flag should be displayed only from sunrise till sunset. If displayed at night, it should be illuminated.

Visit a war memorial

Spend some time in silence at these sites and ponder the sacrifices made by those who have served. War memorials in Texas include - but are not limited to - the Texas Panhandle War Memorial (Amarillo), Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Dallas), and the Texas State Cemetery (Austin).


Thank an active-duty service member or veteran

Acknowledge the sacrifices these service members and their families have made. Express your appreciation in person or via the written word.

Seek out stories that depict experiences of service members

Contemplate these stories. Some feature films to consider are Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge, and Platoon. Some documentaries to consider are Restrepo, The Fog of War, Hell and Back Again, and No Greater Love. Books to consider are The Things They Carried, Unbroken, Black Hawk Down, and The Forever War.


Talk with youth about the cost of war

Remind children/grandchildren that real people with real families have put themselves in harm's way to protect both our and others' nations.

Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance

Wherever you are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, pause for one minute to remember those who have died in service to the US.

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A Glimpse Inside The Texas Panhandle War Memorial Center

Here is a glimpse of some of the awesome military memorabilia that you will find at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial Center.

Gallery Credit: Jordan Richardson

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