Memorial Day: 6 Places to Spend it With Kids

March 09, 2023 2 min read

If your kids are like most, they’re looking at Memorial Day as just another day off of school before summer brings that final bell. They might be too young to grasp how important this holiday is, or maybe they just don’t understand. After all, they’re only kids.

But as a parent, it’s your job to show them why Memorial Day isn’t just a barbecue and a late bedtime on Sunday night. You need to help them to understand the sacrifice made by so many in the defense of freedom. If you haven’t made your Memorial Day plans yet, here are a few places you can visit with the kids to show them the true meaning of the holiday.

Brooklyn, New York: The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument
There are definitely more well-known war memorials, but this uniquely historic spot in Brooklyn honors fallen heroes who may not hold a spot of prominence in the history books. During the American Revolution, nearly 11,500 American soldiers died as prisoners of war aboard British war ships, and this Fort Greene monument honors their sacrifice.

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania: The National Memorial Arch
Located inside Valley Forge National Park, this memorial commemorates the brutal conditions General George Washington’s forces endured during the winter of 1777. Referred to as the birthplace of the American army, it was in Valley Forge that a motley crew of colonial militia was trained and hardened to a world-class fighting force.

San Francisco, California: WWII West Coast Memorial
Set on high grounds overlooking San Francisco Harbor, the World War II West Coast Memorial was erected in memory of the soldiers, sailors, Marines, coast guardsmen and airmen who fell in battle during the Pacific campaign. Along one wall, 413 names represent those missing whose remains were never recovered or identified.

Parris Island, South Carolina; Quantico, Virginia; Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii: Iwo Jima Monument
It’s one of the most enduring iconic images in U.S. Military history: six U.S. Marines hoisting the colors of the United States of America over Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. The largest and most well-known statue depicting this image stands in Arlington, but three smaller replicas have been placed at MRCD Parris Island, MCB Quantico and MCB Hawaii, dedicated to all Marines who have lost their lives in service to their country.

Los Angeles, California: Go For Broke Memorial
Located in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo District, the Go For Broke Memorial commemorates the sacrifices of Japanese-American soldiers, called nisei, who served the U.S. in World War II. “Go For Broke” was the unit motto of the 100th infantry battalion, an all-Japanese-American unit, and quickly became the motto for all nisei soldiers. Inscribed on the monument are the words of President Truman, who told returning nisei, “You not only fought the enemy . . . you fought prejudice and won.”

Washington, DC: The National Mall
There are too many memorials in Washington, D.C. to list here, but simply planning a trip to the National Mall this Memorial Day puts you among the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial. Make a day and pay your respects at each to those who fought for our country.

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