How we celebrated Memorial Day

1 Jun

Celebrating Memorial Day

Starting family traditions

toddler with USA flag
God bless the USA

This was our first official year of commemorating Memorial Day with new family traditions. One of the many things I love about having my own little family is the new and fun traditions we can start. By instilling these traditions in our family I don’t only hope to create memories for my boys, but instill values in them. Let me share our Memorial Day traditions with you.

The Parade

We started off the day by attending an annual Memorial Day Parade put together by the community of Kensington in San Diego.  What I thought to start at 10:00am on the dot actually started at 10:45am, so we were there early enough to get good seats (but really there were plenty of them). I loved being surrounded by neighboring patriots and ringing in another year of admiration for fallen military men and women.

We lathered the kids with sunscreen, kept them hydrated and pumped them up for what they were going to see. Yes, this was their first parade (first that they could appreciate anyhow).

The parade brought many exciting attractions like our city Mayor, Jerry Sanders, kids on stilts, Cat in the Hat characters and much, much more. The boys’ loved getting free stuff. They received USA flags, donuts, scones, book markers, candy and even the Constitution of the United States-awesome.  If you ask Rockford what his favorite part he’ll tell you, “My favorite part was seeing the race cars.” Yes, yes we know Rockford, the red one because it looked like Lighting McQueen.

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The Food

Later we headed to my mother-in-law’s home to start the food. On the menu, carne and pollo asado (roasted beef and chicken to grill), rice and beans and all the fixin’s. My mother-in-law’s food is always amazing.

The family activities

Growing up in a family of eight kids then having several nieces and nephews, really equipped me and earned me the title of  “Queen of Kids’ Activities”. Now I get to do this with my own kids and start new traditions with them. I opted for two activities where at least one involved the entire family to participate together. Do feel free to borrow these ideas.

The Poppy Flower

Why poppy? Please read this awesome link where I first learned about the importance and symbolism behind this cute flower.

The Poppy
Poppy Flower activity

Items needed:

  • picture of poppy (you can draw it yourself with a black marker)
  • black buttons
  • red ribbon
  • hole puncher
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Red and Black crayons

    poppy flower activity

    Tada! Here it is!


Canvas painting

The second activity was a painting that we call, “Thank you for our Freedom”. This was a family effort and although we are no Picasso, our message is clearly heard. This now hangs in our hall wall and is a daily reminder of our gratitude to all our fallen soldiers.

Thank you for our freedom painting
A tribute to our fallen soldiers

Items needed:

  • 12×16 canvas (available at art stores and Michael’s)
  • Acrylic paints (red, white, blue, black)
  • Print a picture to glue on it (optional)
  • your creativity
Thank you for our freedom
Thank you for our Freedom

Movie Time

Finally, we finished the night watching the movie “Full Metal Jacket” (well, my husband and I did the boys were in bed).  If you haven’t seen this movie it is a classic done in the late 80’s. I really appreciated watching this movie as a reminder of what our soldiers endure during training and at war. Though I kind of expected seeing and hearing the depictions of our soldiers, the last scene still gets me teary eyed just thinking about it. It is so unexpected and endearing to me, sad and proud at the same time. At the last scene the remaining soldiers of the platoon who have survived this particular battle start marching and begin to chant, “Come along and sing a song and join the jamboree, M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse, forever we will raise the banner high, high, high,high…Come along and sing a song and join the jamboree…”  My son sings this song in the car when we play his Mickey Mouse songs CD. When I heard the soldiers in the movie singing this song  I was immediately reminded of the little boys they once were to their mothers and the innocence that is left behind as they embrace manhood…and the self that is sacrificed as they embrace service.

Thank a Soldier today.


2 Responses to “How we celebrated Memorial Day”

  1. workmomad June 1, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Another good movie (again without kids) is Saving Private Ryan. When I saw it in the theater, I believe I cried for the entire first battle scene because it brought home so vividly what our soldiers endured on D-Day.

    Great traditions Raquel!


    • Training Up My Boys June 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      Nancy, thanks for being such a great blogger buddy. I love your style of writing are and I love your sense of humor. Your writing always gives me a clear picture of what you are saying and it inpires me to be a better writer. Thanks again for dropping by and Congratulations on all your Yahoo publishings, well deserved. God bless you and your family…and your dogs too 🙂

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