Memorial Day is a holiday in the United States, observed every last Monday of May. This year, it falls on May 25. Memorial Day honors the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the country’s military.
The original name of the holiday was Decoration Day, a holiday that started after the Civil War. In 1971, it was officially hailed as a federal holiday. It is a solemn celebration, with many Americans visiting memorials and cemeteries, participating in Memorial Day parades, and having family gatherings.
Unofficially, the day marks the start of the summer season in the United States.
A peek into Memorial Day’s history
Originally, the day honored the people who lost their lives fighting during the Civil War. When World War I started, the holiday commemorated all the American personnel who perished in all the wars the United States was involved in, such as WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Beginning from the first celebration of Decoration Day, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30. The passing of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 moved the holiday to the last Monday of May and became a federal holiday. Thus, Memorial Day gave the federal employees a three-day weekend. It took three years for the change to take effect.
The meaning of Memorial Day
For many Americans today, the true meaning of Memorial Day is lost. Modern Americans look forward to the long weekend, the parties, trips to the beach, parades, and other activities related to the holiday.
When the federal holiday was created, Memorial Day intends to commemorate the uniformed women and men who died for their country, especially those who died due to wounds they got from battle or those who died during encounters. Thus, Memorial Day should be a day to remember the military personnel who gave their life for their country. The day is to remember their sacrifice so other people can enjoy their freedom and luxury. Memorial Day is likewise a day to think of ways to support and protect the families the fallen soldiers left behind.
For family members, Memorial Day is a time of reflection. They remember the military career of their family member, and how much the persons gave of themselves to protect their country. The holiday is a chance for the people in the U.S. to be together with the surviving families of fallen soldiers to honor the sacrifice and service their loved ones gave to the nation.
Interesting facts about Memorial Day
Did you know that there is a National Moment of Remembrance that you should legally observe on Memorial Day? In the last month of 2000, the U.S. Congress passed a law ordering Americans to pause for one minute at three in the afternoon (local time) to remember and honor the fallen soldiers.
Many people believe that Memorial Day’s birthplace is Waterloo in New York.
The commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, Major General John A. Logan, issued General Order No. 11 on May 5, 1868, designating May 30, 1868, as an official holiday, giving it the name Decoration Day. The purpose of the holiday is to decorate the graves of fallen comrades with flags, wreaths, and flowers.
Due to the threat of COVID-19, the American Veterans (AMVETS) organization will hold a virtual motorcycle ride. The group wants to draw attention to the prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action during the Vietnam War. This year’s ride, ”Rolling to Remember,” will have members riding 22 miles within their hometown.
How do Americans celebrate Memorial Day?
Americans celebrate Memorial Day differently. Grieving family members and volunteers visit the graves of their fallen loved ones. Volunteers tend to and decorate the graves of those soldiers who do not have living families and friends.
Families with members and relatives serving in the U.S. military typically display the American flag in their homes, and many people wear a red poppy flower on their clothing to remember the men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country. Moina Michael, an American professor, started wearing a common red field poppy flower to remember the fallen. It is a tradition for people to fly the U.S. flag at half-mast from morning until noon. From noon it raised to the top of the flagpole until the sunsets.
Some will participate in Memorial Day parades. Most Americans will be traveling for miles to be with their families during the long weekend. Many are going to enjoy the three-day Memorial Day weekend to have parties and reunions.
Memorial Day 2020 at this time of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought so many restrictions, and the observance of Memorial Day is going to be a quiet affair as many people will not be visiting cemeteries and memorials today. Parades are not allowed, and other activities such as concerts, are canceled. People who can venture outside must observe social distancing.
But being cooped up at home for several weeks has taken its toll on many Americans, who flocked to beaches, had pool parties, and sunbathed. They used the three-day holiday as a symbol of freedom from home quarantine.
With many Americans forgetting the safety concerns, authorities believe that they may have to get ready for another peak of infections.
Send greetings in any language through eTS Translation Services
Several countries have their version of Memorial Day. While the holiday may not fall on the same day, it is worthwhile to send a greeting to friends and comrades across the globe in their language. Doing so will uplift their spirits and make them know that there are people who remember the courage and bravery of their loved ones who gave their lives to defend their country’s freedom. Allow the native-speaking translators of eTranslation Services to translate your heartfelt greetings and messages of love and hope. Call us at (800) 882 6058 or send us an email at [email protected].
Happy Memorial Day to everyone!
Image Copyright: US Army Africa from Vicenza, Italy / Public domain