Memorial Day: A Day to Honor

Memorial Day A Day to Honor

Barbecue, picnics, and parades come to mind when we say Memorial Day. However, it’s important to remember that this holiday is about more than a cookout or a change in the seasons. 

In the United States of America, Memorial Day is observed to remember those who fought for our freedom—the heroes who gave their lives to protect the prosperity of our country. We hope you’ll pause and reflect on these men and women this year and remind your children, family, and friends to do the same.

You may be wondering: When is Memorial Day Weekend? We all know that the holiday comes around every May, but its exact date changes from year to year. 

Memorial Day is a United States of America federal holiday. The holiday is always celebrated on the last Monday of May. This allows a three-day weekend for federal employees. Before being called Memorial Day, it was known as Decoration Day. It was first celebrated nationally on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. 

The Arlington National Cemetery is best known as the final resting place for many of our nation’s greatest heroes. It is where Confederate and Union soldiers were buried, including more than 300,000 veterans of every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is located in Arlington, VA, just across Memorial Bridge from the Lincoln Memorial. Memorial Day is celebrated with a parade in most towns.

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For decades, Memorial Day was observed on May 30. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. This change went into effect in 1971. Many Americans spend the holiday visiting cemeteries or memorials where they set flowers and an American flag on each grave. Observers hold family gatherings and participate in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season. 

Every state has its traditions and ways of honoring Memorial Day. Many of these traditions go way back.

Here are some popular Memorial Day Traditions:

  • Many visit the graves of fallen military personnel to mourn and leave flowers and mementos at their graves. This is a tradition that dates back to the Civil War. 
  • Military cemeteries, like Gettysburg National Cemetery, PA, and Arlington Cemetery, WA, get many visitors. 
  • Parades and events are organized in many towns and cities. This includes marching bands and speeches by military veterans. Many people gather to watch wreath-laying ceremonies. Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC typically host the largest parades.

veterans-parade

  • It is also a popular time for families to host get-togethers. The timing of this three-day weekend at the beginning of summer makes family events or day trips ideal.
  • It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half-mast from dawn until noon.
  • President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000, and all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 pm. local time. 
  • For the fashion-conscious, many go the patriotic route and opt for a red, white, and blue look.
  • The President of the United States of America places a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.

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All non-essential government offices are closed on Memorial Day. Schools, businesses, and other organizations are closed too. Public transit systems mostly have modified schedules. Plan your trips well and take into consideration that there may be some congestion on highways and at airports.

Memorial Day honors those who were killed during their military service. To the military men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line for our freedom and safety, we thank you. We appreciate your service and are forever grateful. 

As our way of honoring and thanking these heroes, check out our Memorial Day Sale here.

Memorial Day Sale