Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is meant to honor men and women who have died serving in the U.S. military. It was first celebrated in the years after the Civil War, and became an official holiday in 1971. It’s a special day for several reasons. Memorial Day allows us to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country. And for many people, it’s also the unofficial start of summer, a chance to celebrate with family and friends, usually by going to a parade or cookout.
Whether you’re an everyday Martha Stewart or a first-time host, this year’s Memorial Day cookout has the potential to be the best yet! We’ve compiled a list of some creative twists on old traditions that you can use to wow your guests.
- Turn your traditional cookout into one with a “You Bring It, We Grill It” concept. Take some of the burden off your preparation list by having guests bring their own meat, seafood, veggies, etc. This way, you can ensure everyone is getting something they love, and no one will be going home hungry. If you’d like to, you can still provide the main side dishes or just have everyone bring a little something to make a potluck out of it!
- Make sure the patriotic theme carries through to the drink menu as well with these red, white, and blue cocktail recipes. Choose from a wide range of options including Shirley Temples, martinis, sangria, and shots. Your guests will definitely notice the extra effort as you add a little spin to some old favorites.
- It’s hard to believe firecrackers and sparklers can get any more amazing than they already are. But how about making them out of marshmallows? These marshmallow firecrackers are a great hand-held dessert option for any guest, especially kids. And you can enjoy them while watching the real fireworks at the end of the night.
- Strawberry shortcake is a staple dessert of many Memorial Day cookouts. Usually the cake is already assembled, but why not have a build-your-own-shortcakes bar? Set up a stand with stations for individual sponge cakes, fresh berries, whipped cream, and other assorted toppings. Your guests can have fun making their own creation in whatever size portions they like.
Celebrating the start of summer is always a fun way to spend a long weekend, but we should never forget the real reason for the holiday. There are many ways to honor those who have died in service to our country, a few being; donating to an organization, volunteering at a cemetery to put flags on service members’ graves, and simply thanking a veteran for his or her service.
You can also buy a buddy poppy to support the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization. You’ve probably seen these pins resembling small red flowers with a black center. The idea started in the early 1920s when the organization paid disabled and needy veterans to assemble paper versions of the poppy. While the scale of the operation has grown exponentially since then, veterans in need still make each and every buddy poppy. The VFW Buddy Poppy program provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, offers financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs, and partially supports the VFW National Home For Children.
As an organization with many active military members and veterans, Mosquito Joe looks forward to celebrating and honoring Memorial Day every year. A sincere thank you to those who have served, are currently serving, and who have sacrificed for this country. If you are interested in mosquito control services for the summer, please contact your local Mosquito Joe to find out how we can help protect your backyard events all season long!