FLOYD COUNTY - For many, Memorial Day weekend typically is filled with BBQs, gathering with family and friends, sales and an extra day off from work. So before we talk about things to do this weekend I wanted to talk about the history of Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was developed to honor those that died in the Civil War. According to the Memorial Day website (usmemorialday.org), it was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in his General Order No. 11 and was for “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” The original date of Decoration Day was May 30, 1868. This date was chosen because it was not an anniversary of any specific battle.

Memorial Day is now honored on the last Monday in May and is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service on the United States of America. It is different than other military holidays such as Veteran’s Day because Memorial Day is specifically a day to remember and honor those who have died in service.

Since it is a day of remembrance, wishing someone a “Happy Memorial Day” isn’t appropriate because Memorial Day isn’t an actual holiday and is more of a day of reflection and remembrance. 

So what are some things you can do this weekend: 
1. Talk about the history of Memorial Day.  Share about the day with young and old, and think about family and friends, neighbors or others that have died in service.  
2. Have a mini cookout. Fire up the grill for a barbeque or have a shrimp boil. Set up lawn games like horseshoes or cornhole to play with the kids. Relax by the pool if you have it open. Break out the sidewalk chalk and make your driveway a patriotic sight for people passing by.
3. Honor those in your life who died in combat or those who served and are no longer with us. Visit their graves or find your own way to honor them throughout the weekend. Watch their favorite TV show, drink their favorite beer or listen to their favorite songs.
4. Make your home a vacation destination. If you were supposed to travel over Memorial Day and cannot, have a fun destination in your home.  Pretend you’re on a beach, or river.  Try a recipe form where you were traveling too.  Put some music on and enjoy.  
5. Get outdoors. Break out the bike, go for a walk.  Drive around with the windows down.  Play games! 
6. Set up a video party with those you normally would spend the holiday with and keep the tradition going.
7. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday at 8 p.m. which will be broadcasted by PBS. The concert will feature performances and tributes filmed from around the country to honor the troops and our veterans.
8. Go camping. Private campgrounds are now allowed to operate. State parks are open for some camping. Be sure to check or call before making any concrete plans most are taking only reservations. But you don’t have to go somewhere, camp in your own back yard!  Those memories will last longer than fancy stuff.
9. Create your own drive-in theater. Set up an old bed sheet, a projector, some cushions, and outdoor chairs for a cozy movie night in the backyard.
10. Gather the family around a campfire. Roast marshmallows tell stories and sing some campfire songs for a good old-fashioned summer night.

Please be safe no matter your plans.  Do not drink and drive!  Wear helmets on ATV’s and bikes!  Be safe grilling!  Most important give thanks for those that have served our country. Please send other questions you have feel free to call me, 806-983-4912.  Email questions to cristen.brooks@ag.tamu.edu. Family and Community Health Agent, Floyd County