Far too often we forget the “memorial” in Memorial Day and celebrate it as a free day off from work or school. And, of course, Memorial Day is heralded as the unofficial start of summer, a day for beaches, barbecues, and baseball.
Memorial Day also pays tribute to those who died while serving in America’s Armed Forces. Originally known as Decoration Day, its late-May occurrence ensured flowers would be in bloom so the graves of America’s war dead could be decorated. It was established three years after the Civil War ended, in 1868.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, — the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
– General John A. Logan, Commander-In-Chief
General Order No. 11, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868
10 Great Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day
Remember, PCHSearch&Win is a powerful tool for helping you find local events and other great ways to celebrate one of America’s most important holidays. Without further ado, you could:
- Thank a veteran
- Attend a parade
- Buy a poppy (use PCHSearch&Win to learn about the significance of poppies to Memorial Day)
- Visit a cemetery and place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen heroes
- Visit a United States Armed Forces Memorial
- Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon
- Fly the POW/MIA flag as well
- Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance; at 3 p.m., pause and reflect upon the true meaning of the day and for “Taps” to be played
- Renew a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of the fallen, and to assist disabled veterans
- Celebrate with family and friends (at the beach, BBQ, baseball game, or anywhere else!)
Enjoy your day off, and let us know how you’ll be celebrating Memorial Day in the Comments section below!
P.S. The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is that the latter celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. Originally known as Armistice Day, it was enacted in 1954.