First observed in 1868 to commemorate fallen solidiers following the Civil War, Memorial Day evolved into a holiday that remembers all in the military who gave their lives in service to the USA.
Although today Memorial Day is mostly about a three-day weekend and the unofficial start of summer cookouts, here are some great ways to incorporate the true meaning of the day into your Memorial Day festivities:
Use plenty of red, white and blue, of course! Decorate with the patriotic color theme with colored carnations and balloons. Mix and match tableware by using red napkins, blue plates and white plastic knives and forks. For a lovely effect at dusk, backyard lights in patriotic colors will set the mood even as the sun goes down.
Nothing says Memorial Day like an outdoor barbecue of grilled chicken and steaks, shish kebab, hot dogs or burgers alongside fresh macaroni or potato salad. Wash it all down with fresh homemade lemonade or ice tea. And don't forget the other cool treats of the season with generous slices of watermelon or a heaping bowl of fruit salad.
For dessert, serve cupcakes frosted white with red strawberries and blueberries, or use the same ingredients to make an American flag sheet cake.
Fun Memorial Day Activities
Backyard party games like horseshoes or volley ball are the order of the day, or go fly a kite! (and et Dad take the reigns and show the kids how it's done.)
And what would Memorial Day be without the music? Load up the iPod or CD player with these Top 10 favorite patriotic tunes:
- Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen
- American Pie - Don McLean
- Stars and Stripes Forever - John Phillips Sousa
- The Star-Spangled Banner - Francis Scott Key
- Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John
- Only In America - Brooks And Dunn
- This Land Is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
- God Bless the USA - Lee Greenwood
- Some Gave All - Billy Ray Cyrus
- Arlington - Trace Adkins
More Memorial Day party ideas around the Web: