Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the last Monday in May. It honors those who died serving the United States military. It is also seen as the start of the summer season. All non-essential government offices are closed including schools, people usually have the day off work, and some local businesses may not be open as well.
Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives while in the military service. It is traditional to fly the American flag at half mast. Many people visit national cemeteries where volunteers will place the American flag on each grave. Memorials are attended as well. It is a day that marks the start of summer and vacation season. People will attend picnics, BBQs, sporting events, and spending time with family.
Memorial Day originated after the American Civil War to honor both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. The holiday was extended by the 20th century to include all American soldiers. Memorial Day is formally known as Decoration Day. This day is not to be confused with Veteran’s Day which celebrates the service of all United States military veterans.
Memorial Day Weekend usually conjures up images of backyard parties, beaches and beer.
But Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer. It’s actually been an official national holiday for over 40 years aimed at remembering those who served in the armed forces.
A few years after the end of the Civil War, May 30 was established as “Declaration Day” — a day to decorates veterans’ graves with flowers. May 30 may have been the selected day because flowers would be in bloom throughout the country, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
In 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday and placed on the last Monday in May, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website says.
In December 2000, the president signed into law The National Moment of Remembrance Act.
“The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Ameri1cans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation,” the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website says.