Memorial Day, a US federal holiday observed every year on the last Monday of May, remembers those who died while serving our country's armed forces. It originated as Decoration Day after the Civil War as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. That tradition was eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service and it continues today.
Ways to Honor Those Who Gave Their Lives for Our Freedom
🇺🇸 Organize a neighborhood parade. Get the kids to decorate their bikes and trikes or use red, white and blue decorations to adorn wagons and strollers to parade around your neighborhood with others. End with a refreshing ice cream treat and enjoy the time with your neighbors.
🇺🇸 Pause for a moment of silence at 3:00 pm in memory of our fallen heroes.
🇺🇸 Fly the American flag. On Memorial Day, the flag should first be raised to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to half-staff, until noon when it should be raised to the top of the staff for the rest of the day.
🇺🇸 Visit a historical site or cemetery. Tour a historic battlefield or a soldiers' memorial for a personal look at the sacrifices made by our servicemen. Decorate the graves of soldiers with flags or flowers.
🇺🇸 Attend a local event in honor of Memorial Day. Be it a parade, fireworks or another public gathering, join those in your community to mark this special day. Check out our Events Calendar for local Memorial Day happenings!
- National Memorial Day Concert - Sunday, May 30, 2021 | 6PM
- National Memorial Day Parade
- Virtual tours of Civil War and Revolutionary War Battlefields
- Visit National Parks online and check out virtual celebrations and events
- Experience Gettysburg from your own home
🇺🇸 Talk to a veteran. Take the kids to hear the story of a serviceman or servicewoman and encourage them to ask questions to better understand the sacrifices military members make. Bring cookies or flowers or a handmade note as a sign of thanks.
- The Grand Army of the Republic began decorating the graves of fallen service members with flowers in May 1868, which was then known as "Decoration Day".
- In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday, to be observed on the last Monday in May, moving it from the static date of May 30, in order to create a 3-day weekend.
- On the Thursday before Memorial Day, small American flags are placed at each of the 400,000+ gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries nation-wide.
- To encourage more people to observe Memorial Day, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000, which asks people to stop what they are doing at 3:00pm local time and observe a minute of silence to honor those who lost their lives defending the country.
- On Memorial Day, the flag should first be raised to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to half-staff, until noon when it should be raised to the top of the staff for the rest of the day.
- Red poppies are considered the Memorial Day flower. There is a poem called "In Flanders Fields" that refers to the fields of poppies growing among soldiers' graves during the First World War.
🇺🇸 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
🇺🇸 Memorial Day on Wikipedia
🇺🇸 Arlington National Cemetery on Wikipedia