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With all the patriotic holidays this time of year, you may be wondering how you can honor the significance of the day…before firing up the grill! I’m going to show you how you can easily put together a flag ceremony that involves the whole family and helps teach the younger ones what these special days are all about.
Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day… My family, as many others, enjoys celebrating these days with parades, picnics, bbqs, and fireworks. But amidst the partying, it’s nice to take a moment to remember why we are celebrating.
Both my husband and my families have strong ties to the military. His dad served in the United States Army and fought in Vietnam. My mother and several grandparents and other relatives also served in the Army and Navy.
We always get together with Daniel’s family over Memorial Day and Labor Day (there are 30 of us!), and for many years we’ve done a flag ceremony on Memorial Day. It’s super easy to do. All you need is a flag and some people!
How To Do A Flag Ceremony With Your Family
Before you start the ceremony, you should assign jobs to people so they are ready to play their parts when the time comes. As you’ll see in the tutorial, you’ll need someone to lead the ceremony, a person or a few people to march in the flag, someone to lead a song, and someone to lead a prayer and/or share a few thoughts.
- Get a flag
Any size will do!
- Designate a color guard
We always have several boy/cub scouts on hand, and they have done many a flag ceremony, so we let them show off. But anyone can carry and march with the flag- boys, girls, kids, and adults!
- Choose a color guard leader
This person will stand near where the flag will be brought in. When it’s time for the ceremony to start, he or she calls out “color guard advance.”
- March in the flagHave the color guard start a few yards away and walk in with the flag while everyone else salutes or puts their hand on their heart. If you have a flag holder they can “post the colors” or otherwise someone can hold the flag during the ceremony.
- Pledge allegiance
The color guard leader can say, “Please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance” and then lead the group in saying the pledge.
Then the leader can dismiss the color guard to join the group by saying “color guard dismissed.”
- Sing a song
Choose any patriotic song you like! Here are a few that most people will know:
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- America the Beautiful
- God Bless America
- My Country ‘Tis Of Thee
- You’re a Grand Old Flag
- Invite a veteran or elder to speakIf you’d like, ask a veteran or one of the older people in your family to share a few thoughts or memories. Best to check with that person ahead of time to make sure they are willing to have the spotlight on them!
- Finish with a prayer or some uplifting words
Easy as that! And you can add or subtract any elements to make the ceremony truly your own!
Then, it’s time for some good food and great company!
For me, a party’s not a party without the Coca-Cola™, and this year Coca-Cola and Sam’s Club are partnering with the USO to provide care packages to the troops overseas.
The USO is an organization that helps to keep America’s military service members connected to their family, home, and country, while serving overseas. I’m sure that receiving care packages from home must be comforting and remind the soldiers that we appreciate what they are doing. Coca-Cola hopes to donate 3000-5000 USO packages this summer!
You can help provide these care packages when you buy Coca-Cola at Sam’s Club this summer. Just look for the special USO patriotic packaging!
It’s easy to get caught up in the celebrations, but if you take the time to remember the significance of the day with a short flag ceremony, I think your whole family will appreciate the freedom they have to enjoy these celebrations and think of those who are serving so that we can continue to enjoy that freedom.
And hopefully the soldiers who are receiving those care packages will be strengthened, feel our gratitude, and know that they are appreciated.
Want to do more? You can make a donation to help Coca-Cola send more care packages to soldiers overseas.