Memorial Day is a federal public holiday observed on the last Monday of May. This day is set aside to celebrate and honor the men and women who have died serving our country in military.
Memorial Day originally began to honor and celebrate Union Soldiers who died during the American Civil War – it was inspired by the way people honored their dead in the southern States. After the end of World War I, Memorial Day was extended to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.
Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day. The present name for this special day didn’t come into use until the end of the Second World War. Decoration Day used to be celebrated on May 30, despite of the day of the week on which it fell. In the year 1968, the Uniform-Holidays-Bill was passed as part of an act to use federal public holidays to create three day weekends. This meant that, from the year 1971, Memorial Day had been legally observed on the last Monday in May of every year.
Now, because Memorial Day is a federal public holiday, all government offices that are non-essential are usually closed, as are businesses, schools and other public institutions. Most public transport systems do not operate on their regular timetable. Many individuals see this day as an opportunity to visit friends or family or go on a short vacation. This can bring about some overcrowding on airports and highways. For many of us, Memorial Day marks the start of summer.
Top Five Ways to Appreciate Memorial Day 2014
1. Read a few of the poems found online that individuals have written to honor their relatives or friends who died serving their country.
2. Take your quality time to read some history about this special day. You can also find some articles about this memorable day on Google.
3. Take your time and visit your home town veteran’s cemetery and place an American flag on the graves. This should be done very early in the morning.
4. Put your flag up and then fly it at half mast. It’s customary to fly the flag at half mast from sunrise until midday.
5. Hold a Memorial Day picnic and have every visitor bring a short history about someone they read about, or heard, or knew about who died serving this country or is still serving it. Let it be a potluck and have each guest bring their simple finger foods and their favorite easy appetizers.
If you follow the guidelines listed above, you will be able to show honor to those American men and women who died serving their country in the military as well as teach your kids the importance of freedom. Observing this day properly will bring you and your family closer to those that fought and died for this great nation, as well as building a connection between you and your tradition. If properly observed, Memorial Day will be a great reminder of the rich history of America and the great sacrifices that have been made to get this country to where it is today.