Memorial Day means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For parks and recreation, it can mean a weekend filled with parades, events and pool openings. For others, it means time to spend outside with family and friends. For everyone though, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have fallen in defense of our country.
Here are five ways you can honor that service and sacrifice at your local parks and recreation facilities this Memorial Day and all summer long.
1. Dedicate a tree, bench or brick in honor of a loved one who served.
Many park and recreation departments offer memorial programs to honor those who have passed on. Many of these memorial programs are open to anyone, while others are specific to honoring veterans. Reach out to your community’s parks and recreation to see what programs they offer.
2. Attend a Memorial Day parade or event.
Your local parks and recreation works hard to put on great community events to honor those who have served. Check out your department’s website to find some family-friendly activities for this weekend and all summer long!
3. Support local programs that hire veterans.
Many park and recreation departments prioritize hiring veterans—specifically in health and wellness programs as these are skills many veterans have mastered while serving their country.
Memorial Day is about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. And one way we can help honor them is by giving back to our communities. Trail cleanups, summer day camp staffers, swim “buddies” — these are just some of many volunteer opportunities held by local park and recreation departments. Make sure you check in with your local department and participate only in sanctioned volunteer opportunities.
5. Take a veteran to a park or recreation facility.
Offer to take a family member, friend or neighbor who has served his or her country to a park for a picnic, hike or one of the fun events sure to be happening this weekend in your community! You can also check in with your local VFW or other veteran’s organization to see if they have any volunteer programs for taking older veterans who may be in a specialized care facility out to your local parks and recreation facilities.
We hope you have a safe and fun Memorial Day! Remember, you can honor those who have served our country all-summer and all-year long. Your community’s parks and recreation facilities are the perfect place to do it!
Roxanne Sutton is NRPA’s Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist who will be spending Memorial Day with her father, a veteran of the U.S. Marines.