What Is Memorial Day? History, Importance, And Why Do We Celebrate It!
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It is always on the last Monday of May. In 1868, it was made an official holiday to remember Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. After World War I, it was changed to honor all men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
It is a day to remember and honor the brave people who gave their lives to protect the country and its people. The holiday also gives Americans a chance to think about what service members and their families have done for them and to be thankful for the freedoms and way of life that are protected by the armed forces. It is a tradition to fly the American flag at half-mast and pay respects to fallen soldiers, veterans, and their families by going to cemeteries and memorials.
It is also a time to think about the bravery, strength, and dedication of those who have served in the military and to thank them for their service and sacrifice.
When Is Memorial Day?
In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which said that Memorial Day should be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Several southern states, including Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, the last Monday of May, and Louisiana and Tennessee, officially recognize a particular day to honor the Confederate war dead. This day is sometimes called Confederate Memorial Day. This day is January 19 in Texas, the third Monday in January in Arkansas, the fourth Monday in April in Alabama and Mississippi, April 26 in Florida and Georgia, May 10 in North and South Carolina, the last Monday in May in Virginia, and June.
Every year on Memorial Day, a small American flag is put on each grave at Arlington National Cemetery as part of a ceremony. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the President or Vice President traditionally lays a wreath. Every year, about 10,000 people go to the ceremony.
“Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.”
-Abraham Lincoln, second inaugural address
Fatalities From U.S. Wars And Conflicts
|American Revolution (1775-1783)||4,435|
|War of 1812 (1812-1815)||2,260|
|Mexican War (1846-1848)||13,283|
|Civil War (1861-1865)||620,000|
|Spanish-American War (1898-1902)||385|
|World War I (1917-1918)||116,516|
|World War II (1941-1945)||405,399|
|Korean War (1950-1953)||36,574|
|Vietnam War (1964-1975)||58,220|
|Gulf War (1990-1991)||383|
|Afghanistan War (2001-2021)||2,352|
|Iraq War (2003-2012)||4,586|
How Memorial Day is celebrated?
The American Legion has demanded that Memorial Day be observed once again with greater solemnity. In 2010, the organization proposed removing the extended weekend and returning Memorial Day to May 30, saying,
“The majority of Americans view Memorial Day as a time for relaxation and leisure recreation rather than as a solemn occasion and a time to reflect and pay tribute to the American servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives in defense of our Nation.”
From 1963 until 2012, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II soldier and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, unsuccessfully presented legislation to relocate Memorial Day back to May 30. Some places celebrate Memorial Day on May 30.
Many solemn day observances remain. Since 2000, Americans have been encouraged to remember at 3:00 p.m. local time. Bells stop NASCAR races. Flags are flying at half-mast till noon to mourn.
Arlington National Cemetery receives over 135,000 visitors every Memorial Day weekend. Traditionally, the president or vice president places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Over 280,000 flags are placed at the headstones of those who died for their nation.
Do all workers get the day off for Memorial Day?
Good day! Many of our hardworking government workers, like those in law enforcement and the post office, will be off to honor and remember the dead soldiers.
Most government employees have the day off on this day, According to the Office of Personnel Management. The final Monday in May is always a holiday. The closure of non-essential federal government offices is, therefore, to be expected. Additionally, it’s likely that on this day, banks, post offices, and schools will also be closed.
Note that private sector firms are not compelled to provide paid time off on holidays like Memorial Day 2023. To encourage employee retention and draw in new hires, some firms decide to observe these holidays and grant their staff members paid time off.