With Memorial Day just coming to a close, your alumni association may be interested in finding ways to honor alumni who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces.
It is important to remember that Memorial Day is not the same as Veterans Day. While Veterans Day exists to honor all veterans and service men and women, Memorial Day specifically honors those who gave their lives in service to the country.
To that end, celebrations of Memorial Day generally have a bit more somber tone. It is important to respect the intended spirit of the holiday and to primarily pay respects to the fallen, while also giving nods to living veterans and current men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces.
With that in mind, below are a few ways you might consider honoring your alumni who are serving or have served for this Memorial Day.
Create an alumni wall
If you can gather a list of alumni who have served in the armed forces, and in which branch they served, you can create a special wall honoring them. Be sure to give special attention to those who gave their lives as part of their service. These types of memorials are often found in parks and public places around communities throughout the United States, but you could make one specific to your school to place on school grounds to serve as a nice reminder of those alumni who sacrificed for their country.
Host a flag ceremony
Alumni associations will often hold flag retreat ceremonies honoring current and past military service members. At these ceremonies, you may wish to have a military speaker and a horn player to play “taps” when giving a salute to the fallen.
Get teachers and classes involved
If schools have alumni who served who are still living in the area, it may make a good school project to have students interview those alumni to learn more about their experiences and stories from their time serving. Teachers may also wish to put together special in-class Memorial Day lessons or programs that honor veterans—and invite alumni in to speak or to take part in the activities.
Host a cookout
If you are looking for something a little lower key and easier to plan, you might consider hosting a cookout in a local park or even on school grounds, and find a way to honor alumni veterans while also enjoying each other’s company. Memorial Day barbecues are a fixture in communities across the United States, and you may get great engagement from alumni coming back for such an event.
For more tips about ways you can honor your alumni who served this and next Memorial Day and to learn more about creating a sound alumni engagement strategy, we encourage you to contact Alumni Nations today.