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June 27, 2011

Fireworks and Family Traditions

BLOG-Girl-flag_03 With the 4th of July approaching, I have been thinking about our family rituals during the summer holidays.  Boston Pops and fireworks over the Charles River. The National Independence Day Parade in DC. Fairs, concerts, and baseball games from sea to shining sea. Across the country, we parents are teaching our kids about national traditions that will continue to be handed down through generations. 

This year, I'm proud to say, our son Adam helped us to create a new family ritual on Memorial Day. As part of his choir, Adam was asked to participate in a plaque dedication ceremony in honor of Army Capt. Anthony Palermo, who grew up in a neighboring town and was killed in Baghdad a few years ago. Watching Adam and knowing how hard the entire choir worked to get every note perfect – having all of these things come together was somehow incredibly overwhelming. I was so moved by the experience.  I wasn't just proud of Adam and his achievement.  I was proud to be acknowledging a holiday that frankly, we've never celebrated like this before. 

I’ve met many military families in my recent travels and through's work with USAA for military families. After seeing the audience response to Adam's performance (mom bragging rights: he also got a big round of applause for singing the national anthem at his school’s talent show!), Ron and I are determined to make our participation in Memorial Day activities a new family ritual.  I love that Adam was the one to introduce it to our family.  

What traditions have you handed down to your family? Are there any traditions that you participated in growing up, but have decided not to pass on to your kids? Why did you decide to change a family ritual? Any favorites that you’d like to share with other families?

And check out these summer articles for more safe family fun:

Free (or Almost Free) Things to Do with Kids This Summer

Summer Safety Tips: A Guide to Protecting Kids when Activities Heat Up

How Young is Too Young to Mow the Lawn? (This one might be more fun for you than for them.)


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Barb T

You might want to contact either the VFW or the American Legion post nearby. They usually have ceremonies in local cemeteries honoring the military dead on Memorial Day. You might volunteer to help put flags on the graves or something similar or just go to watch the ceremonies.

There are often local ceremonies for the military members of the community and the veterans on Veterans Day (11/11). One of our nearby towns has a luncheon with the military speakers with the posting of the national flag by a military color guard and posting of the service branch flags by local veterans. Join in.

Claudia Avery

How awesome a thing you are doing reminding us that we should build our family experiences and traditions around such a meaningful holiday as Memorial Day!! THANK YOU! We often forget in our day-to-day lives of those that died in the line of duty so that we can live a life free of many worries that trouble many others around the world.

My nephew is an Army Ranger serving a second tour of duty somewhere in Afghanistan. When he came home from the first tour, he refused to talk about what he experienced because he didn't want to trouble us. Think about that... he experienced things so we wouldn't have to.

That is the stuff that America was built on. Let's do more to honor our fallen (and those still serving)!

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