I saw this this afternoon on BillionGraves – 10 Ways to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day – BillionGraves Tombstone Tuesdays May 21, 2019: https://blog.billiongraves.com/2019/05/21/10-ways-to-honor-your-ancestors-at-the-cemetery-on-memorial-day/. For those not familiar, Memorial Day is a U. S. holiday celebrated the last Monday in May. Other countries may celebrate it under different names or different dates (see second paragraph below)
All across the world, families gather in cemeteries to honor their ancestors. Many perform the same long-standing traditions year after year to remember those that have gone before them. Your family may be one of them – or maybe you could use some new ideas on how to honor your loved ones at the cemetery this Memorial Day.
In China, millions of people flock to the gravestones of their ancestors in the spring. Chinese Memorial Day has been celebrated for more than 2500 years. The holiday goes by several other names – Ancestor’s Day, Qingming Festival, and Tomb-Sweeping Day. Families celebrate by cleaning gravesites, praying to their ancestors, burning incense, and making offerings of food money, and flowers.
Memorial Day in America
Veterans Day is a U.S. federal holiday in remembrance those who have served in the US Armed Forces. It is observed on November 11th, the date that marks the end of World War I. Veterans Day coincides with holidays held in other countries on the same date to honor military veterans, such as Remembrance Day and Armistice Day.
But Memorial Day is distinctly different. Veterans Day is a holiday to recognize the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who died in military service.
Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May, as spring gives way to summer. And many families now mark the holiday with family reunions and picnics, in additional to honoring their ancestors at the cemetery.
What about you? Maybe you already have some time-honored family traditions for Memorial Day or perhaps you could add some new ones. If so here are 10 ideas for ways you can honor your ancestors at the cemetery on Memorial Day.
Idea #1 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Visit the Gravesite and Document it with the BillionGraves App
Take Photos of Gravestones with Your Smartphone
If headstones could talk, they would have a lot of stories to tell. But they can’t, so BillionGraves is the next best thing. As gravestones deteriorate, those stories are quickly fading away. We need to capture them before it’s too late.
BillionGraves’ goal is to preserve cemetery data and make it readily available for genealogical research to honor our ancestors and loved ones. Then, even if a loved one’s gravestone is damaged or worn by time, the invaluable information recorded at their final resting place will still be available.
BillionGraves is the world’s largest GPS-linked cemetery data resource. As you take photos with the BillionGraves app, each gravestone is automatically marked with a GPS location. The data is then made readily available at BillionGraves.com for free for millions of families around the globe for generations to come.
Download the Free BillionGraves App
Before your family gathers at the cemetery on Memorial Day invite them to download the free BillionGraves’ app on their smartphones. Then you can all work together to photos of gravestones. It’s as easy as taking pictures of each grave as you walk along.
In just a short visit – about an hour – 300 to 400 records can be preserved. So you’ll be able to document not only your ancestor’s gravestones but also those who are buried nearby. Then your family will be helping others to find their ancestors!
When you are finished taking photos, upload them with one click of a button to BillionGraves’ database.
1. Download the BillionGraves app to your smartphone.
2. Create a free account on the app or at BillionGraves.com.
3. In the app, click on “take pictures” to begin taking photos in your local cemetery. The GPS location will automatically be recorded.
4. When finished, connect to Wi-Fi and upload cemetery photos.
5. Repeat! 🙂
Idea #2 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Clean The Gravestone
Idea #3 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Decorate the Grave
(NOTE: Check with the cemetery as they frequently have rules on what can / can’t be left on the headstone or grave)
Idea #4 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Take Family Photos
Idea #5 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Discover their Military History and Place a Remembrance
Idea #6 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Picnic at the Cemetery
Idea #7 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Connect with Family Members
And if you would like to make this a Memorial Day you’ll never forget, see if you could connect with one of your DNA matches that you have never met before at the graveside of your common ancestor. Learn more in this BillionGraves blog post: How to Use Your DNA Results to Find Your Ancestor’s Graves. (Then you could even use the BillionGraves app to document the cemetery together!)
Idea #8 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
As they are talking, use the FamilySearch Memories App to record their priceless stories. Just imagine future generations being able to listen to their great-grandmother telling a story about their great-great-great grandmother!
Idea #9 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Ponder, Pray, and Sing
Here is a list of some of the most popular hymns sung at cemeteries:
- Ave Maria
- I Watch the Sunrise
- Morning Has Broken
- Old Rugged Cross
- Amazing Grace
- How Great Thou Art
Or it could be even more fun to sing songs that your ancestors knew and loved. Some of the older members of your family may be willing to perform songs they heard sung as children. And don’t forget to pull out the
FamilySearch Memories App to record them!
Idea #10 to Honor Your Ancestors at the Cemetery on Memorial Day:
Share Family Heirlooms
As you choose from these 10 ways to honor your ancestors at the cemetery this Memorial Day we hope you create memories that will last for generations!
Happy Memorial Day!
Cathy Wallace and The BillionGraves Team