Date: Last Monday in May
Observances: Remembrance of American war dead
The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are graced by U.S. flags on Memorial Day.
MemorialDay began in the United States on May 30, 1868, after the Civil War had ended.
Flowers were put on the graves of both sides, in order to help heal the nation. It was later expanded to include allmen and women who had died in America's wars.
It is now celebrated on the last Monday of May.
For many, this day carries no special meaning except perhaps an extra day off from work and school, abarbecue, the start of the summer holiday season, and for stores, the opportunity to hold their annual Memorial Day Weekend sale.
In reality, the holiday is observed in honor of our nation's armedservice personnel who were killed in wartime.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. menand women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expandedafter World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.
A boy holds an American flag during the 2009 National Memorial Day Concert on the WestLawn of the United States Capitol.
Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time. Another tradition is to flythe flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries.
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Warstake donations for poppies in the days leading up to Memorial Day; the poppy's significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem "In Flanders Fields."
In addition to remembrance,...