Patriotic American Holidays - Memorial Day
Memorial Day - An American Patriotic Holiday
Memorial Day, once called Decoration Day, is officially set aside as a time to honor the memory of the brave souls who have died while serving in the United States military. It's a patriotic American holiday set aside for remembrance.
Though we fly the American Flag, and may attend a parade, featuring living American patriots, sometimes we forget to really remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.
Memorial Day has now expanded into Memorial Weekend, so It's also a family time. Many workers are given Monday off, and have extra time to spend enjoying the company of family and friends. Many will have a backyard barbeque or some other activity that heralds the coming of the summer season.
When is Memorial Day?
The Last Monday in May!
Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day," because of the practice of honoring slain soldiers by decorating their graves with wreaths, flowers, or small American Flags.
The first recorded official instance of a Decoration Day was in 1866, in Waterloo, New York, on May 5.
Although the dates varied from state to state, by the end of the 1800's most every state had an official Decoration Day, with Michigan being the first to declare the day an official obsrvance, in 1871. Beginning in the 1880's the use of the name Memorial Day was beginning to be used, and both names existed for some time.
it wsn't until 1967 that Federal Law made Memorial Day the official name of the national holiday. The very next year, it was made a 'movable' holiday to create a three day weekend, and the practice of observing the day on May 30 ended. Since then, it has been the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day is observed on
the last Monday in May.
Fly the Flag - On All Patriotic Occasions
Even if you don't fly the flag on a daily basis, there are some special times you'll surely want to do it, and this is one of those times.
On Memorial Day, the flag should be flown at half staff in the morning, and raised to full staff at noon.
What do you think about Memorial Day?
Wear a Red Poppy - To Remember Them
Veterans across the nation make red paper poppies for this American holiday. Many patriotic Americans wear them as a remembrance on Memorial Day. But, did you know that it was actually a Canadian who wrote a poem that started the whole idea?
You can probably get a Memorial Day Poppy from a local VFW member, in exchange for a donation, the amount of which is usually up to you.
There's a history behind these poppies, and it is connected with the touching poem "In Flanders Field." It begins with: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row . . . "
If you'd like to read the whole poem, you can, on a page called the Story Behind the Poppy.
Three Things to Do
ON MEMORIAL DAY
1 - Fly The Flag at half staff until noon, and at full staff afterwards.
2 - A slient Moment of Rememberance at 3:00 pm.
3 - Wear a red Memorial Day Poppy to honor their ultimate sacrifice.
Activities on Memorial Day
Some of the Official and Traditional Activities
The traditional National Moment of Rememberance takes place at 3:00 pm.
Memorial Day Parades are held in many communities. The oldest is the one in Ironton, Ohio, which has been held since 1868.
In Washington, D.C., the National Memorial Day Concert is held on the lawn of the U.S. Capital building.
The racing world pays tribute to our war heroes at two of their important races, The Indianapolis 500, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2011; and the Coca-Cola 600, which is 50 years old. Both take place the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, and pre-race ceremonies both include special recognition of our military, including the playing of "Taps." The fly-over at the Indy 500 just takes your breath away when you experience it in person.
Many communities hold special observances, including memorial services, the decorating of the graves of soldiers, community picnics, and other activities.
Display a Patriotic Garden Flag - On Memorial Day, and Other Special Days
Display a Patriotic Garden Flag on Memorial Day!
There are so many beautiful patriotic garden flags available that you may have trouble choosing one!
But, when you've found your favorite, you'll have a number of occasions to display it:
Fourth of July
Pearl Harbor Day
Families on Memorial Weekend
Like many other families across the land, ours gets together on Memorial Day Weekend. It's our tradition to watch the Indianapolis 500 together as a family. But, we don't forget the original purpose of the holiday, either.
My dad couldn't enlist in WWII, but he did his part at home by working on aircraft engines. And he was a life long open wheel racing fan... as well as a sometime race car driver. The Indy 500 was very special to him, and we always feel his spirit with us on that day.
It may sound silly to some, but the whole family stands silently, hands over hearts, for the National Anthem before the race and for the playing of Taps, too. And we eagerly watch for the military aircraft fly-over that always takes place before the race. There is usually an honor guard with representatives from all branches of the service, and it's an important part of the pre-race festivities. Indy is steeped in tradition, and the honoring of the brave is a big part of that tradition.
And guess what? In our home, we DO observe the National Moment of Rememberance at 3 PM on Memorial Day. I guess i'm an unabashedly patriotic American.
Stars and Stripes - for Your Weekend Feast
If you're planning big family gathering, make it festive with red, white and blue dining accessories. Whether you're dining indoors or having a backyard barbecue, you'll be happy to have something special to use for your patriotic event.
God Bless America
and those who've
given their all to
keep her free.
How does YOUR family observe Memorial Day? Do you love American holidays?