We come from a military family, though I never served myself. My daughters know many people who served or who are currently serving in the Armed Forces but they don’t know anyone who has died in the service of this country. When you don’t have a personal connection, it’s easy to forget that the people who we honor on Memorial Day are more than just an ideal or people that we only think about on one day a year on a specific day set aside specifically for them.
My wife and I took my girls to our local war memorial to drive home the point that there are people that we honor on Memorial Day that could have been our friends, neighbors, or attended our church. We are honoring all those who gave their lives in service of this country and some of them were part of our community. My hope is that this forms more of a personal connection and sense of gratitude for them and teaches that, in our family at least, we do more than just grill hamburgers on this solemn day.
There is a good chance that your town or your county seat has a war memorial. I strongly encourage you to visit it so that you can link some names to the idea of Memorial Day.