Memorial Day Essay Prompts

Memorial Day
Writing Prompts #3

Here are 10 Memorial Day writing prompts you can use to ring in the holiday with your classroom or your own personal journal. If you enjoyed these prompts, buy the entire collection of 1,000 Writing Prompts for Holidays on Amazon.

861. Many museums and parks offer special exhibits on Memorial Day to give attention to the U.S. military service. Do you think it's important to remember the contribution of the military long after they're gone? Why or why not?

862. Each MD at the Arlington National Cemetery, American flags are placed at every service member's grave stone and guarded to ensure the graves are not disturbed. What do you think is the meaning of this tradition? Why might it be a touching ceremony for some?

863. The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., includes entertainment but is more well known for its tributes to various wars and branches of the military. Do you think it's necessary to have a balance of fun and seriousness on a holiday like MD? Why or why not?

864. Ports around the country celebrate boating and sailing festivals on MD. Imagine that you could own any boat you wanted. What kind would it be, what would you do with it, and why?

865. The Indianapolis 500 is a racing event over MD weekend that is attended by approximately 400,000 people. Imagine sitting inside one of those cars zipping around the track. What might it feel like to go so fast? Would you enjoy it? Why or why not?

866. Mount Vernon, Virginia, boasts a Sunset Celebration on MD weekend to witness the setting sun on George Washington's home. Imagine sitting down with the first President and chatting about the holiday. What might you discuss and why?

867. There are monuments all around the country that serve as fitting places to honor fallen soldiers on MD. Imagine that you were in charge of creating your own memorial. What would it look like, who would it honor and why?

868. America's national parks are frequently visited on MD, giving visitors the chance to see the most beautiful parts of the country. How do you think seeing such a breathtaking part of the U.S. would make you feel and why?

869. The barbecue is a MD tradition, but it's not always directly connected to the honoring of America's troops. What are three ways that a standard barbecue could be more connected with the roots of the holiday? Do you think the changes would be for the better or the worse and why?

870. While there are many MD traditions, one of the most frequent modern practices is to go on a vacation. What is a vacation you and your family could go on that would be equally patriotic and enjoyable? Why might such a trip be more fulfilling than one purely for fun?

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    Written by Bryan Cohen

    Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.

    This Monday is Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States intended to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military. The observance of Memorial Day began unofficially in the years following the American Civil War when citizens in different towns and cities started paying tribute to fallen soldiers by holding memorials, participating in parades and decorating graves with flowers. It became an official holiday in 1971, and today, Memorial Day marks a day of remembrance for some and the unofficial start of the summer season for others.

    What significance does Memorial Day have for you? This long weekend, choose one of the following journal prompts to explore your thoughts.

    Memorial Day Journaling Ideas

    1. Reflect on the intention of the holiday. Who do you think of when you remember those who have died in military service? Do you think of past wars or more recent conflicts? Have you lost someone you knew personally? Do you know others who have been affected by the loss of a family member or friend? What emotions does this topic bring up for you? Do you feel sadness, respect, anger, guilt, judgment or ambivalence? Why?

    2. Think about the words “memory” and “memorial.” What meanings do they have for you? How do you remember any of your loved ones who are no longer with you? Do you have any rituals or traditions to keep their memory alive or pay tribute to them? Do you hold on to any keepsakes that remind you of them?

    3. Do a timed free-writing exercise and explore your opinions on the US military for 15 minutes. Here are some questions to help get you started: Do you have friends or family members who have served in the military? What were their personal experiences? What do you think about the military’s current role in national security and foreign affairs? What do you think should stay the same? What do you think should change? Do you think the US takes good care of its active duty service members and veterans? Why or why not? Would you describe yourself as patriotic? What does that word mean for you? How has that changed over the years?

    4. Think back to past Memorial Days and your plans for this holiday weekend. How do you usually spend this time? Is it an occasion for family gatherings, parades or summer kick-off vacations?

    Not enough? Need more journaling ideas for Memorial Day? Maybe some of these 143 Free Journal Prompts will work for you!


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