6 Ways To Help Families Honor Loved Ones This Memorial DayMay 27th, 2016
Surrounding our line of work is this idea that funeral professionals somehow become desensitized to death and tragedy. Because at the crux of what we do each day is death, grief and memorializing lost loved ones, it’s not hard for outsiders to assume that we are, in a sense, numb to it all—that we’re not affected by lives lost or that we don’t have emotional moments when preparing for a funeral or memorial service.
And while it’s true that we must remain professional while working and doing our job to serve the community, some instances of death will always stand out and swell our hearts in a different way. This Memorial Day weekend, we’re reminded of those brave individuals who served in our military and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice – giving their lives while fighting for the freedom of our country and all those of us who live in it.
This Monday, the swimsuits and barbecue tools will come out as most of our friends and neighbors let Memorial Day signal the unofficial start to summer. But we know how important it is to not let the true significance of this day pass us by. We invite you to join us as we pause to celebrate the lives of veterans, the passing of which is ripe with tradition and ceremony, as it should be for those who served their country.
As community leaders and arguably experts in this arena, funeral professionals have a unique opportunity to remind those surrounding us to thank a veteran, remember their great deeds and take a moment of respectful reflection on what it means to have served their country.
Here are a few ways you can use this long weekend to reach into your community to celebrate veterans and connect with neighbors and families who want to join in the memorializing of such important community members.
1. Invite neighbors, families and veterans in.
Depending on your funeral home’s exact location and layout, you can host an event either right on your property, or at a nearby park or home that lets the people in your community come together and reflect. At this event, consider inviting some local veterans to join as the guests of honor, and make sure to allow them the time to share their stories (if they wish). More importantly, this event should include an opportunity for you and members of your community to extend their thanks and gratitude to these veterans for their service.
2. Hand out American flags to passersby as a reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day.
While some people may be too busy grilling hot dogs and hamburgers to remember the intent of the day, you can be out in the community reminding neighbors of the reason we set aside this day in May to pause and reflect on our veterans. Simple miniature American flags will do, and you’ll surely pass by plenty of people going about their daily business who will be grateful for your reminder to thank a veteran.
3. Host a tribute event at sundown.
Sparklers and tea candles can light up the evening as you gather your community in a common area to pause for a moment of silence, dedication or other kind way to thank your local veterans, their families and all those who served in the past. If open flames or sparklers aren’t your cup of tea, consider a red, white and blue balloon send-off at sunset.
4. Decorate the cemetery to honor fallen veterans.
If your cemetery or one nearby is the final resting place of any veterans, this Memorial Day is the perfect time to make sure their sacrifice and bravery is still honored and remembered in death. Tune into the tradition and fanfare of a military funeral by donating floral arrangements or flags to adorn their gravesites, so that others too may be reminded of and show gratitude for their service.
5. Collaborate to send handwritten notes to living local veterans or passed veterans’ families.
This could be something you and your firm do quietly, or a great way to involve the community in saying thanks to local veterans. And don’t forget their families, who often struggle a great deal as well while their loved ones serve during wartime. Gather with others and pass out blank cards to fill with gratitude, remembrances and well wishes, and share them with the recipients on Memorial Day in a private or public ceremony.
6. Make and display a remembrance video honoring the veterans and veteran families your funeral home has served over the past year.
With funeralOne’s Life Tributes software, you can include a special dedication to veterans that let their surviving loved ones know how important they were, and how grateful you and your community has been for their dedicated service and sacrifice.
If you would like to create a meaningful memorial video for the veterans that your funeral home has served, as well as all of the other important community members that you care for each year, click here to sign up for a free 30-day trial of our Life Tributes software!