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Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Posted by Defiant Contributor~ J.B. on May 25th 2023

As the days grow longer and the scent of blooming flowers fills the air, we find ourselves on the cusp of a solemn yet significant occasion - Memorial Day. This cherished holiday, observed on the last Monday of May each year, holds deep meaning for millions of Americans as they gather together to honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. 

So, as we embark on this journey, let us pause to remember and pay homage to the brave souls who fought valiantly for the ideals we hold dear. Together, we can ensure that their legacy lives on, reminding us of the profound debt we owe and inspiring us to cherish the freedoms and liberties they fought to preserve. 

A Brief History

Memorial Day has its roots deeply embedded in the aftermath of the Civil War and holds a profound historical significance that resonates to this day. The seeds of this solemn observance were sown in the hearts and minds of grieving families and communities, seeking a way to honor and remember the countless lives lost during the nation's bloodiest conflict. 

The exact origin of Memorial Day remains debated, as numerous towns and cities claim to have been the birthplace of this commemorative tradition. However, on May 5th, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed May 30th as Decoration Day, a time to adorn the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and pay tribute to their memory. The chosen date held no particular significance but offered ample time for the flowers to bloom across the war-torn landscapes. 

Decoration Day gained prominence in the years that followed, spreading throughout communities ravaged by the Civil War. Cemeteries became the hallowed grounds where loved ones, veterans, and citizens alike would gather to honor the fallen heroes who had made the ultimate sacrifice. 

It wasn't until after World War I that the holiday evolved to encompass the remembrance of all American military personnel who had perished in all US conflicts. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a federal holiday, to be observed on the last Monday of May, providing Americans with a long weekend to honor the fallen and reflect on the price of freedom. Today, Memorial Day stands as a testament to the resilience and unity of a nation that has borne the weight of countless sacrifices. It serves as a solemn reminder of the human toll of war, inviting us to pause and express our gratitude for the men and women who laid down their lives in service to their country. 

Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day

Memorial Day and Veterans Day are both important observances that honor military personnel, but they hold distinct meanings. Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for those who died in military service. It is a time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by men and women in uniform. Veterans Day, on the other hand, celebrated on November 11th, honors all veterans, living and deceased, who have served in the armed forces. It is a day to express gratitude and appreciation for their courage, dedication, and selfless service. 

How We Celebrate

The observation of Memorial Day holds a special place in the hearts of Americans as a time-honored tradition to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. It is a day of solemn reflection, gratitude, and commemoration, marked by various customs and ceremonies that serve as poignant reminders of the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes. 

One of the most common ways people observe Memorial Day is by visiting cemeteries and gravesites. Many families and communities gather to pay their respects, placing flowers and American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. The sight of rows of flags fluttering in the breeze is a powerful symbol of remembrance and a visual representation of the lives lost in service to the nation. 

Observing a moment of silence is another significant aspect of Memorial Day. At 3:00 PM local time, people across the country pause for a minute of silence to honor and remember the fallen. It is a simple yet powerful gesture that unites the nation in collective reflection, allowing individuals to express their gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by these brave men and women. 

Memorial Day parades and events also play a significant role in the observation of this solemn occasion. Communities come together to witness and participate in parades featuring marching bands, veterans' organizations, and military personnel. These parades not only pay homage to the fallen but also serve as a reminder of the unity and strength of the nation. As we observe Memorial Day, it is crucial to remember the true purpose of this solemn occasion - to honor and remember those who sacrificed their lives in service to our nation. By participating in these customs and ceremonies, we ensure that the memory of our fallen heroes lives on and that their sacrifice is never forgotten. 


Although for some, Memorial Day is no more than a three-day weekend marking the beginning of summer; it's about far more than beer and barbecue. It's a day for remembrance, a time to reset and reevaluate whether or not we are honoring the sacrifices so many have made for the freedoms we hold dear. For those who have lost friends or family, the way they choose to observe Memorial Day will be very personal. Some may spend the day in solemnity as they reflect on their loss. While others choose to celebrate the lives of the fallen and the wonderful freedoms we enjoy because of their sacrifice. Memorial Day serves as a solemn reminder to cherish the freedoms we enjoy and to honor the memory of those who made it possible. As we bid farewell to this day of remembrance, let us carry the spirit of Memorial Day with us throughout the year, keeping their memory alive and striving to make our nation worthy of their sacrifice.