2 minute read

HISTORY OF Memorial Day

Words by Lifestyle Staff

Many Americans celebrate the holiday weekend with barbecues or road trips, but Memorial Day means so much more than extra time off. The intent behind observing the special day is to remember and honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

For some, honoring those who gave their lives can be in the form of marching bands, inspirational words, and other commemorations. No matter how we choose to spend the holiday, taking the time to pause for a few moments on Memorial Day to reflect on what it means and why it was instituted will help honor those who died serving our country. Let us never forget those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom—far beyond what we could ever repay.


1. Memorial Day originated after the Civil War and was first called Decoration Day.

2. A red poppy serves as the remembrance symbol.

3. Memorial Day is one of the few days flags are ordered to fly at half-staff rather than full-staff.

4. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are not the same. Memorial Day only honors those who have died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates everyone who has ever served.

5. It is believed that Memorial Day is in May because flowers are in bloom all across the country, making them readily available to decorate fallen soldiers' graves.

6. Around 25 cities have claimed to have started Memorial Day, but Waterloo, NY has been named the official birthplace of Memorial Day.


Fly the American flag

Watch a parade in person or online: The National Memorial Day Parade | americanveteranscenter.org

Volunteer your time to help decorate the graves of fallen soldiers, or pay respect by leaving flowers at their gravesites.

Give to a local military charity.

Observe the National Moment of Remembrance: At 3pm on Memorial Day, observe one minute of silence.

Buy a “Buddy”® Poppy. These fabric poppies are assembled by disabled and needy veterans. Funds go towards compensating them for their work and maintaining veterans’ programs. | vfw.org

Take time to thank a veteran—whether writing a letter or making a care package.