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Ask Chuck: How to make Memorial Day meaningful

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

We can’t travel this year. How can I make Memorial Day special for my family while staying on a budget? 

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes 

Dear Honoring Our Fallen Heroes, 

First, thank you for remembering that this national holiday is far more than a time to shop and play. 

Chuck Bentley
(Courtesy of Christian Economic Forum)

Memorial Day was founded to commemorate those who died to preserve the Union during the Civil War. It was originally called Decoration Day because people would decorate the graves of the fallen. After we entered World War I, it became a day to remember all who gave their lives in America’s wars. The last Monday of May is dedicated to the holiday. On this day, the American flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon then raised to the top of the pole until sunset. Officially, a pause for one minute of silence should be observed at 3 p.m. 

The extended weekend has become the event that ushers in summer for Americans. People celebrate coast to coast with barbecues, picnics, and parades. The impact of Covid on last year’s celebration may increase the nation’s desire to celebrate this year. 

Through the years, for some, Memorial Day has morphed into a weekend of entertainment.  Some escape to a beach, lake, or holiday destination. Others look forward to the annual sales. Clothing, home furnishings, grills, and appliances usually top the list.

Make it special 

In addition to flying your American flag and attending a local parade, to make the celebration special while also saving money, I recommend that you host a cookout at your home and invite the family of a fallen soldier to be your guest. Ask them if they would be willing to share their story with your guests. Show them the respect and honor that is due them for their sacrifice and loss. Here is a possible guide for your event: 

  • Share the reason why we celebrate. Let children take part with a song, poem, or              reading.  
  • Give thanks for those who died serving America. 
  • Pray for wounded warriors and their families. 
  • Pray for those who have lost loved ones.
  • Pray for those serving with a police force or with our military.
  • Pray for leaders in city, county, state, and national positions.
  • Pray for God to raise up wise leaders among those seeking election.
  • Pray for freedom to be preserved in our nation. 
  • Have a minute of silence at 3:00 p.m.
  • Check out TheMemorialDayTribute.com for more ideas.

Budgeting ideas 

Traditionally, menus involve hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, or steak. Expect to spend more money this year on grocery items and gasoline. Examine your finances, and leave yourself margin. Don’t spend more than you should because the entire summer lies before you. 

  • Plan ahead, and take advantage of pre-holiday food and decoration sales. 
  • Ask guests to bring food, décor, portable chairs, a Frisbee, corn hole, etc. 
  • If traveling by car, pack a cooler for food and drinks.
  • Check out free entertainment in your community. 
  • Plan a program to make the day memorable.

Make money

After observing the reason for the national holiday, this can be a time to actually earn money. If you are home alone or have the time, these ideas by Rachel Slifka may work for you. 

  • Host a garage sale
  • Pet sit
  • House sit
  • Do yard work for others
  • Check out local event venues to see if jobs are available

Remembering and honoring those who gave their all 

“War is sweet to those who have not experienced it.” (Quoted by Erasmus in his Adages) It is traumatic for those who experience the horror. We thank God for our soldiers and those who gave their all to protect and defend our freedoms. 

Crown is privileged to have Christian Credit Counselors (CCC) as a trusted source of assistance. For more household budgeting tips or for guidance with debt, let CCC help.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Seven Gray Swans: Trends that Threaten Our Financial Future. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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