Meaning Of Memorial Day

meaning of memorial dayMemorial Day in the United States for 2017 is May 29.  Memorial Day originated as “…Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic… established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.” (Wikipedia) Memorial Day became the last Monday in May with the passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968.  The meaning of Memorial Day in the United States varies by age group, locale, and service in the armed forces, but generally it is a day to honor fallen soldiers from past wars.

Traditionally Memorial Day is mean to honor war dead and decorate their graves, but also marks the unofficial start of summer with Labor Day marking the end.  Memorial Day is also the first widely observed holiday in the United States following New Year’s Day, although there are several minor holidays, often called banking holidays, in between.

Meaning Of Memorial Day To My Mom

My mom is a big observer of Memorial Day, often spending the whole day at various cemeteries around my home town of Oskaloosa, Iowa where a lot of my relatives are buried.  She puts small flags on the graves of the veterans, along with various flowers.  She is 75 and has a lot of pain in her hips, but she still gets out there every year, often for the whole day.

Celebrations of Memorial Day

Some cities and locales have parades and memorials to honor Veterans for Memorial Day, but there is no widely known parade such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Memorial Day is fairly low key, although it is usually a photo opportunity for the president to visit Arlington National Cemetery.

Meaning of Memorial Day to You

So what is the meaning of Memorial Day to you?  Is it finally a three day weekend after a long stretch of no holidays?  The start of summer?  Or is it remembering your grandfather who fought in World War II?

Further reading:


Leave a Reply