Observing US Memorial Day
The last Monday of each May is the day that the United States dedicates to remembering the American soldiers who died while serving in the line of duty. The holiday first originated in 1868, as Decoration Day following the American Civil War, and was designated as the day for the nation to place flowers on the graves of Union veterans. The occasion eventually became a federal holiday known as Memorial Day in 1967, which honours the 1.3 million Americans who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces.
Its solemn origins are important to remember and that is why many citizens decorate the graves of veterans with the American Flag on Memorial Day. But another meaningful way to observe the holiday is by celebrating the freedoms that the American armed forces fought so hard to protect.
Two of the most popular ways Americans celebrate is by having the season’s first backyard barbecue, or taking advantage of the extra day off work to go for a weekend getaway. Others watch the National Memorial Day parade on TV, or Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle rally that’s held each year in Washington. Shopping and taking advantage of the Memorial Day sales is another popular activity.
While it is a weekend of celebration, it’s also important to be careful and stay safe; Statistics show that there is typically an increase in the number of house fires, DUI’s, and lost possessions during this holiday.
Regardless of how you choose to spend Memorial Day, remember to observe the national designated moment of remembrance at 3pm on Monday to show gratitude for the soldiers who lost their lives and granted Americans the freedoms they enjoy today.