It’s that time of year again! Memorial Day is here!
Memorial Day is observed by the United States on the last Monday of May. This year, Memorial Day is set for Monday, May 29, 2017.
“Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans, it’s honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it.” ~Pete Hegseth
While some mark this as the unofficial start to summer where kids are done with school and the pools and summer recreation areas open for the season, Memorial Day also represents a large part of American history. It’s also a day to remember our military veterans who have served their country.
What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is a day set aside each year to celebrate, honor and remember the veterans and military personnel who served and fought for our country’s freedom.
History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day traditions started after the Civil War ended. In the South, Civil War graves were decorated with flowers and other decorations. This was often done by women.
In the South, the states that seceded from the Union during the Civil War, graves were decorated with flowers and other decorations. This was often done by women.
The North, the states that stayed in the Union during the Civil War, took notice and started following the traditions of the Southern States around 1868 and was later called “Decoration Day”.
Memorial Day, as we know it today, was not established as a Federal holiday and celebrated by all 50 states until the early 1970s.
How Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?
For most Americans in both blue and white collar jobs, this is a celebrated as an extra day off work.
People celebrate with a few different activities that typically involve spending time with the family
- Family gatherings and parties
- Military memorial services
- Decorating the gravesites of veterans
Have you ever visited Washington D.C, the capital of the United States?
Washington D.C. is where you can find a variety of memorials for our founding fathers, important historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln and various wars.
- American Revolution Statuaries (1765-1783)
- Civil War Monument Statuaries (1861-1865)
- World War II Memorial (1939-1945)
- Korean War Veterans Memorial (1950-1953)
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1955-1975)
How to Research Military Records
Do you have ancestors that served in the military? Have you tried looking for service records, draft registration cards or discharge information? There are many research sites that provide access to various military databases. Some are free while others require a subscription but may offer a free trial or access on special holidays.
- Fold3.com specializes in military records.
- Archives.gov is a resource managed by the National Archives.
- Ancestry.com provides numerous military record collections.
How do you celebrate Memorial Day? Do you participate in any services? Do you spend time with your family? Tell us about how you spend this holiday in the comments.