Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend for lake trips and BBQ.
It's a day where we remember those who have given their lives during active duty to protect and serve. So enjoy the day with your family and friends, but don't forget to give thanks to those who fought for your freedom to do so.
Here are a few easy ways to give thanks:
Sign up to volunteer at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane. Every person there has a story to tell, and friends and family members that they are remembering today. Give them your friendship and the opportunity to honor their lost loved ones with memories. The American Red Cross and Soldier's Angels both have local chapters where you can volunteer your time as well.
If you are unable to commit to spending time as a volunteer, a donation may be a better option. Most VA hospitals/centers accept cash donations, as well as items like blankets, books and magazines, and prepaid telephone cards. You could also give to a military charity like Freedom Service Dogs, which rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans and families - free of charge.
Build a Care Package
You don't have to know someone overseas in order to say "thank you." Organizations like Any Soldier and Adopt a US Soldier will help you connect with a soldier who you can send letters and care packages to. Just the simple act of hand-writing a letter or sending some baked goods and magazines is a great way to show that you care (seriously, who doesn't love getting mail?).
Visit a Cemetery
Acknowledge the sacrifice that fallen soldiers have made and visit the Washington State Veterans Cemetary in Medical Lake. Take some fresh flowers to place on graves and give thanks with a moment of silence. The cemetery also accepts donations and volunteers.