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Memorial Day party: Not just a BBQ

Aside from going to the big-budget action movie that opens in the movie theaters, the Memorial Day backyard cookout party is one of the ways Americans welcome the arrival of summer.

Traditionally, this is done with a barbeque, patriotic paper plates and party decorations that display the American flag.

However, this year, why not do something a little more meaningful? The day is meant to remember past and current military veterans, as well as service members deployed overseas, and a good way to do that is to merge your cookout with a fundraising effort for the troops.

Think about placing donation cans or bottles throughout the party for people to donate money for a military-specific organization in an effort to celebrate the holiday. Research the issue and choose a group you feel comfortable with. The causes can range from sending care packages to the soldiers overseas to providing financial support to military families.

Decorate the can or bottle with patriotic colors or simply write the name of the organization you'll be donating to and provide a short explanation.

In the end, your guests may applaud your party planning skills of welcoming the summer and doing some good at the same time.

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