What is Memorial Day?
Though Memorial Day feels like the unofficial start of summer, there is much more to this holiday than the retail sales events, outdoor BBQs, and a three day weekend. Memorial Day in the United States is a day set aside to remember those who have sacrificed their lives defending our country and freedom.
This observance goes back to just after the American Civil War when Decoration Day was introduced by veterans to honor fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. Since then, the observance grew to honor and remember fallen soldiers from any war where American troops fought and died.
In 1967, congress designated the last Monday of May for the observance of Memorial Day as a federal holiday. For more information, see our calendar of 2017 federal holidays for other U.S. holidays.
There are many traditions associated with Memorial Day. American flags are placed on the graves of fallen soldiers, we attend patriotic parades, and enjoy outdoor picnics to celebrate our freedom and honor those who gave their life in service to our country.
Many Americans have a special connection to this holiday through the loss of a loved one in time of war. All of us are touched by the sacrifice of men and women who paid the ultimate price to secure and preserve our freedom.