(Also known as Decoration Day)
Memorial Day is observed next on Monday, May 29th, 2023 (111 days from today).
Memorial Day is an American holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May aim to honor people who passed away while serving in the U.S. military.
Memorial Day on May 30th recalls burgers, hot dogs, swimming pools, and summer for many Americans. But the last Monday in May is, most importantly, a time to honor those who died fighting in the United States Armed Forces. It was a vacation steeped in American history and tradition. The day actually began as Memorial Day. After the Civil War, mourners laid flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers to show their gratitude. Memorial Day has also arrived to signal the "unofficial" start of summer, but let's remember the heroes who made it.
History of Memorial Day
In the spring of 1865, the Civil War ended when Robert E. Lee surrendered the major Confederate army at Appomattox Court House on April 9th. More than 620,000 soldiers died in the conflict that stroke lasted 4 years. General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization of Confederate veterans) would eventually choose May 30th, 1868 as the date to honor the fallen:
May 30th, 1868 was dedicated to spread flowers or decorate the graves of comrades who died to defend their homeland during the last rebellion. At present, their bodies are located in most of the cities, villages, and hamlet churches on the land…
Logan apparently chose May 30th because flowers would bloom all over the country. In the late 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were held on May 30th across the country. States have adopted declarations, and the Army and Navy have adopted rules for proper compliance at their facilities.
The crowd for the first Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery was roughly the size of those attending today's celebrations about 5,000 people. Small American flags were planted on each grave - a tradition that is continued in many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom of decorating the graves of deceased loved ones has become popular in many families.
By 1890, each Northern state had brought Memorial Day become an official holiday. However, this was not the case in the South, where states continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.
May 30th is celebrated for decades. However, in 1968, after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed, Memorial Day was celebrated on the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change came in 1971. At last, Memorial Day was declared as a federal holiday.
Tradition of Memorial Day
Many Americans celebrate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, gathering family members and participating in parades. It's a three-day weekend that kicks off summer and is the time to hang out on the beach and lake, and have a barbecue with friends and family. But Memorial Day is also America's most solemn holiday - a day to remember those who made their final sacrifices while defending their country.
Towns and cities around the country hold large Memorial Day parades every year, often attended by veterans and senior military personnel. Some biggest parades take place in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Cemeteries and memorials are also visited by Americans, with some citizens wearing or holding red poppies to symbolize those who fell in the war. In fact, this tradition appeared since World War I. Weekend trips and parties are also arranged to balance the gloom of the day and welcome summer.
How to celebrate Memorial Day
- Show your respect
Place flowers on the grave of a family member or friend who died while serving. If you do not know any soldiers, let take a visit to a local cemetery. After all, they made the sacrifice for you.
- Join in National Moment of Remembrance
That way, you'll join millions of Americans in national unity in honoring Memorial Day for what it really is - a day to remember those who gave their lives to serve our country and our nation.
If you have an American flag at home, make sure to fly the flag halfway up until noon, and then raise it to the full pole for the rest of the day. The practice of lowering and then raising the flag has been observed for over 100 years to symbolize America's perseverance in the face of loss.
ObservedMemorial Day has been observed the last Monday in May.
Monday, May 31st, 2021
Monday, May 30th, 2022
Monday, May 29th, 2023
Monday, May 27th, 2024
Monday, May 26th, 2025
General John A. Logan on May 5th, 1868