05/25/2011 06:46 pm ET | Updated Jul 25, 2011

Making a Difference: The World of Giving

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday in May, is a time to remember all Americans who have lost their lives in battle. Nowadays, it seems that Memorial Day may have lost some of its meaning with many Americans, who view it simply as the beginning of summer! Or, it is viewed as an opportunity to get away on a three-day excursion or to find good shopping sales, which in my humble opinion, is far worse.

It was originally known as Decoration Day and is a time to remember those who died while in military service. The tradition of honoring those who served began from the aftermath of the Civil War and has expanded to include all wars in which Americans have fought. In 1971, it became a federal law to observe this holiday on the last Monday in May.

It is also customary to fly the American Flag on Memorial Day and many Americans also visit cemeteries to mark soldiers' graves with small flags or memorial wreaths. Numerous communities have parades to remember those who have fought and died valiantly.

All of us have been touched or affected by someone who has served. A little known fact is that more than 1 million Americans have given their lives in service to this country!

Memorial Day is an opportunity to make a difference to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country. Here are five recommendations and tips on easy ways to Make A Difference:

  1. Visit a cemetery and read the headstones of those who have died for our freedom and think about what their sacrifice means to you!
  2. Attend the Memorial Day activities in your community. Most have a parade or some sort of commemoration so take the young people in your life with you to begin passing on the importance of this holiday.
  3. Fly the American Flag: raise it briskly to full staff first, then lower it to half staff until noon, and then again raise it high
  4. Visit a VA Hospital or senior center where they are veterans to listen to their stories
  5. Make a charitable donation to an nonprofit doing work with veterans. I recommend the Wounded Warrior Project or Operation Homefront.

Bonus tip: Take time to write a letter or send a package to a veteran who is serving or take a veteran with you to the activities you attend on Memorial Day such as a parade or picnic.

Serving in our military is a great honor, but comes with a lot of sacrifice for both the soldier and the family. Freedom is a hard fought battle that occurs on daily basis. Honor our military men and women, as well as their families, by honoring and remembering those who have gone before to serve.

Do something for our military personnel or to honor and remember those who have served. Remember, by doing any of the recommendations in this blog, you will definitely be M.A.D. (Making A Difference)! Are you M.A.D. today?

Happy Memorial Day!

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