Memorial Day – May 31st
Remember. Honor. Never forget.
As we observe Memorial Day with Loved Ones, it can be easy to overlook that Memorial Day is a day of “National Mourning” dedicated to honoring and remembering all men and women who have died during military service for the United States.
Please consider adding any of the following to your Memorial Day celebration.
- Flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon. Memorial Day is a day of “National Mourning.”
- Participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3:00 PM local time, to pause and think upon the meaning of the day and for taps to be played where possible.
- Visiting a cemetery and placing flags on the graves of our fallen heroes.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day
Service members, veterans and their families know there is a big difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a day set aside to celebrate all veterans, Memorial Day is a somber holiday dedicated to honor military fallen, with a special focus on those killed during military service or through enemy contact.
Both holidays often include parades, ceremonies and celebrations. But although Memorial Day also traditionally marks the beginning of summer with picnics and parties, many in the military community believe that at least a portion of it should be spent to mourn and honor the fallen.
How Is Memorial Day Celebrated?
Most Americans visit the national cemeteries where they lay flowers and flags on the graves. It is also a tradition to host the flag at half-mast until noon. Given that the memorial weekend is very long, you can attend sporting events, picnics, BBQs, spend time with family or donate to an organization that serves veterans. Most retail shops hold a week-long Memorial Day sale making it a great weekend to go shopping with family and friends. If you would rather go outdoors, then plan to attend a memorial parade near your town.