Memorial Day and Family History

What a gratifying thing it was to experience the things we did in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. My thanks to all family members who could participate. We asked a lot of people and actually the response we got was better than we anticipated. I know I put many on the spot and even took them out of their comfort zone by asking. I know for many the request just came too late for you to act.

And for that I apologize. But guess what? We’re going to do it again for Father’s Day. Now that we’ve done this once you get the idea of what we were trying to do.

What was accomplished was family history. As the pictures and the videos and now the audio stories attest to is that family history is so much more than names and dates.

But before we get to Father’s Day we want to encourage all families to make some serious family history plans for Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is, by design, meant to remember our dead. I know for some folks it has instead become the first great weekend of summer. And that’s fine as a means for gathering the family. But we advocate putting some thought into this weekend and not only visiting the graves of loved ones lost but also sharing their stories.

The Prophet Joseph, in attempting to teach “turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers” described the doctrine as a “welding link”. Nothing brings us closer to our kindred dead than contemplating the message and missions of their lives. If possible, we hear their testimonies through the record of what they left behind. We learn their lessons.

These things have an impact not because we archive these stories on a website. This things have an impact when — just like the scriptures — we tell those stories over and over again.

My goal for my family this Memorial Day is to challenge my children to tell a favorite story of a family member, past or present. Let’s make Memorial Day more than a BBQ and flowers. Let’s make it a genuine memorial.

Perhaps this will give you some inspiration for when we ask for, share and tell the stories of our fathers and grandfathers next month. We hope you will participate!

Jeff Westover
Jeff Westover

Husband, father, Latter-day Saint, 11th generation American, and web geek currently residing in Smithfield, Utah. Please visit my website at

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