“We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” -Francis A. Walker
I am a war history buff, and I am grateful for our service members. Although I pray for their safety and thank every chance I get, I’ve never formally celebrated Memorial Day. Having recently moved to southern California from the Midwest, I decided to see what local events were being held for the Memorial Day weekend. By making it a special day, I hope to teach my children something about the cost of war, freedom and the meaning behind Memorial Day.
Memorial Day was originally celebrated in honor of the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. According to the U.S. Dept of Government Affairs, after World War I “however, that day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.”
Here are some of the events happening in So-Cal that appealed to me as a lover of art and mother of young teenagers.
Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City, Buena Park, CA: Both parks are offering free admission for veterans or active duty military this Memorial Day Weekend, May 24 – 26, 2014. This is a well-deserved way to save some money on a family trip to an awesome amusement or water park. Simply show your current military ID for a complimentary ticket.
Redlands Festival of Arts, Redlands, CA: This second annual event boasts an attendance of 7,000 local visitors for their inaugural event in 2013. Local artists gather to display and sell their work. According the Redlands Daily Facts, “In addition, the festival will include music, dance, children’s art activities, food trucks, a wine and beer garden and a variety of arts-related activities.”
Riverside National Cementery, Riverside, CA: If you are interested in celebrating the holiday for its true purpose, this is the perfect way for you to express your patriotism with your entire family. “A Flag for Every Hero” is described as a “priceless experience,” which entails placing a flag on the graves of each of the fallen service members buried in Riverside National Cementery. The purpose of the ritual is to “reminded you of the true meaning for the Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays,” and it is sure to be a “memorable event.”
Long Beach Fine Arts Festival, Long Beach, CA: If you’re interested in fine art, this Memorial Day weekend (5/24-5/26), the city of Long Beach will host the Fine Art and Wine Festival at Marina Green Park. This is a touring show organized by West Coast Artists, which was founded in 1983 and features “exceptional artists and craftsmen, offering high quality original artwork, from throughout the Western United States. West Coast Artists’ events have been among the highest-rated, superior-quality fine art shows in California.”