Mindful Memorial Day (501c3) was inaugurated 5 years ago by Armor Down, a Virginia -based organization dedicated to helping our military service members make a successful transition back to civilian life. Armor Down’s founder, disabled Iraq War veteran Ben King, believes that honoring the fallen with mindfulness can serve as a way to bridge the civilian-military divide. Our annual event, taking place this year on May 20th and 26th, traditionally sees the hanging of memorial ribbons affixed with the names of the fallen at the Women's Memorial in Arlington National Ceremony. Visitors are encouraged to wear a ribbon as well, and to engage in a mindful moment of reflection.
This year, we would like you to be part of the bridge between military and civil life. Do this by commiting to learning the name, hometown and story of one fallen warrior. Furthermore, whether you attend the actual Mindful Memorial Day event or not, you can commit to observing a mindful moment of gratitude in honor of that individual.
If you are part of a community that would like to perform volunteer service this Memorial Day, then join the team and host a bridge project to create meditation cushions. Sign up as a team and raise $40 dollars for every cushion you would like to create. Once you have achieved your goal, the Foundation will send you the materials to create your cushions.
Armor Down first introduced these meditation cushions during Mindful Memorial Day 2017. A group of volunteers known as the Honor Brigade took these cushions to the gravesites of the almost 1000 post-9/11fallen warriors buried at Arlington in order to offer a mindful moment of gratitude for their sacrifice. Made of the same fabric as Army-issued duffel bag, these American-made meditation cushions are tough; one of our veterans not only uses his cushion to meditate, he also uses it as a gun rest. The smart tag on the cushion will take anyone who scans the cushion to our digital mindful basic training. In the months to come it will provide the owner with mindfulness meditation practices to help tame the mind and boost emotional intelligence. The cushions will be used during our meditation practice on Memorial Day itself, after which they will be donated to the veteran community. A picture of the cushions can be found on this Crowdrise page.
Honoring the Fallen with mindful moments of gratitude has proven to be an effective way to introduce mindfulness to the Veteran community. This year, in addition to our annual tradition of hanging memorial ribbons at the Women's Memorial, we hope to build a large number of cushions for mindfulness practice, and by doing so build a bridge beteen the warrior and civilian communities. This year, you can be part of the bridge.
For more information about creating a bridge project, please read the following document:
Yoga as a technique for mitigating military-related stress: