Veterans Day can be a difficult day for those who have lost a family member who was a member of the armed forces. Whether it's the first year or many years after they have passed, there are many ways to for your family to honor the veterans in your family.
1) Clean the monument - Monuments can become dirty over time. While the cemetery will maintain the grounds, they likely will not clean the headstones. You can take some soap, water and rag to clean off the headstone or monument.
2) Patriotic flower arrangements – make a patriotic wreath or floral arrangement to lave by the gravesite.
3) Wear red – Red is the color associated with poppies of war and honoring soldiers. Have your family members all dress in red when visiting the gravesite.
4) Write a letter – write a letter thanking your veteran for their service. Read it aloud or silently at the gravesite.
5) Plant a tree - depending on where the cemetery is located, it may be possible to plant a tree, bush or flower plant near the grave site.
6) Cemetery Cross – have a personalized cemetery cross made noting dates of service.
7) Add a marble photo - send a photograph of your veteran in their military uniform off to have it engraved on a piece of marble that can be affixed to a headstone.
8) Grave jewelry – engrave a phrase, Bible verse, poem or other wording of your choosing on a marble slab that can be affixed to a headstone.
9) Make a patriotic resin sign – if you don’t want to make something that needs to be attached to a headstone, a personalized resin sign is a good alternative. These signs can be made in a variety of phrases (such as "Thank You Veteran” and are designed to stick in the ground.
10) Personalized grave marker – have a marker made with your veteran’s military service photograph. Often these can be made on a stake designed to go in the ground near the gravesite.
11) Grave blankets – purchase or make a grave blanket to lay over the grave site. Give it a patriotic theme with ribbons and flowers in red, white and blue.
12) Plant a flag by the headstone.
13) Pause and reflect at 3:00PM - In 2000, President Clinton signed the "National Monument of Remembrance Act.” This says that all Americans should pause for one minute at 3:00PM local time on Memorial Day. During this time, they should reflect on the sacrifices made by our veterans. Time your visit so you are at the gravesite then.
14) Get a Presidential Memorial Certificate – This is a free engraved paper certificate signed by the current U.S. president. Take the certificate with you when you visit the gravesite. Note: It can take several months to receive the certificate, so order it well in advance.
15) Play patriotic music – Stars and Stripes Forever is the official march of the United States. Or play the songs associated with your veteran’s branch of the armed services.
There are many ways to honor veterans who have passed on Veteran’s Day. Hopefully one of these ideas will be the perfect fit for you and your family.