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Monday, May 31 marks Memorial Day 2021, a time to remember the men and women who have perished while serving in the United States military. We see a lot of veterans in our home care and hospice care services in Santa Clara and elsewhere. We recognize the importance of our beloved veterans who fought for and died for this country. That’s why we believe our still-living veterans should be treated and cared for with the utmost compassion, respect and dignity, in remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Memorial Day to many is a day off from work and school, the unofficial kickoff to the start of summer, and a time to gather with friends and family for a barbecue. But it’s so much more than that. For many families, it’s a time of somber commemoration. But, as Michel Martin on NPR points out, there’s a human need for both on Memorial Day – for refreshment and celebration, as well as for pause and remembrance. Originally known as Decoration Day, the custom of setting aside one day a year to honor the country’s war dead started in the 1860s near the time of the Civil War. 

It’s important that the memory of our veterans’ service, both active service and retired, alive and deceased, is celebrated each year. So, how can we make Memorial Day more memorable?

Tips for Honoring Memorial Day

Here are some tips on what you and your family can do to make Memorial Day special, to show your support, and to teach your little ones about the holiday and what it truly means.

  • Fly the Flag: Sounds simple but it’s one of the best ways to show your support. Proudly decorate your home, porch, front lawn or vehicle with the red, white and blue. Got a flag pole? Raise the flag up high! However, just remember that you should put it at half mast from dawn til noon out of respect. Check out more Memorial Day flag etiquette guidelines here.
  • Attend a Parade: The last couple of years have been unique in that not many parades have been permitted to happen due to COVID-19 protocols, but when all the restrictions are lifted, we can all go back to attending or participating in Memorial Day parades, filled with decorative floats, music, and flags. Cheer on the veterans, active service members, bands and patriotic organizations as they pass by.
  • Visit a Cemetery: You can honor a fallen hero by taking the time to visit your local cemetery and place flowers and flags on the graves of veterans. Check out VA National Cemeteries to find national cemeteries near you that have designated veterans areas. They will conduct special ceremonies with speeches, choirs, wreath layings and color guards.
  • Have a Moment of Silence: Pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time, along with millions of other Americans, to reflect on their sacrifices that made way for the freedoms we have today.
  • Visit a Veteran’s Hospital: Stop by your local veteran’s hospital to visit with veterans. You could make cookies with your kids to bring, or they could decorate cards to hand out.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering your time, money or clothing to veterans’ causes is a great way to show your appreciation.
  • Take a Virtual Tour of the White House: Learn about the history of our nation by checking out this iconic landmark virtually.
  • Shop Veteran-Owned Businesses: Learn where there are veteran-owned shops and other businesses near you that you can patronize this Memorial Day. Whether you want to eat at a local restaurant or buy some clothes, this is a simple way you can show your support to our nation’s veterans.

How Pathways Helps

Pathways prides itself on being sensitive to veterans’ needs. We know what the unique health risks and care needs are that veterans face each and every day. Our care team does everything within its power to meet those needs. From post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to exposure to chemical agents, veterans suffer from a wide range of mental health issues spurred by their time in service. Consequently, we train our medical social workers in the unique needs of veterans in our charge.

These social workers can connect veterans with community resources designed specifically for them and their families. We also partner with local VA facilities to set up optimal care for this large part of our hospice population. Our veterans are very special to us, which is why we honor them with a pinning ceremony in recognition of their service to this nation and its citizens. Veterans are presented with an Appreciation certificate and Veteran pin bearing the image of the American Flag, American Eagle and dog tags. The inscription clearly reads: “PROUDLY SERVED.”

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

To learn more about how Pathways cares for the veterans in our hospice care program, or for more information on the Pathways We Honor Veterans team, simply contact us at 888-978-1306.