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Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Memorial Day is a federal US holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May to commemorate and honor all Americans who died while in military service.

Memorial DayOn this day, the USA flag is first raised quickly, and then solemnly lowered half-staff until mid-day (to commemorate those in the armed forces who gave their lives while serving their country). At noon, the flag is raised to full-staff until sunset, symbolizing the raising of the fallen’s memory by the living so their sacrifice is not in vain, and who resolve to continue the fight for freedom and justice on their behalf.

Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” that refer to the fields of poppies that grew on a battlefield in Flanders (Belgium), YWCA worker Moina Michael attended a conference wearing a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed over two dozen more to others present. She also penned the poem “We Shall Keep the Faith“, part of which reads:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

This custom of wearing artificial poppies moved the American Legion in 1920 to adopt the poppy as their official symbol of remembrance.

Here are some other interesting Memorial Day facts and trivia:

  • It was first celebrated as “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers.
  • Memorial Day is commonly known as “The gateway to Summer” and a popular day for grilling and BBQ.
  • Although Memorial Day became its official title in the 1880s, the holiday wouldn’t legally be named Memorial Day until 1967.
  • On Memorial Day at 3:00pm local time, Americans are asked to pause for a minute of silence or listen to “Taps” as a “National Moment of Remembrance” (established by Congress in 2000).
  • The Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend took effect in 1971.
  • The Indianapolis 500 motor race has been held on Memorial Day since 1911.
  • More than 36 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home on Memorial Day.
  • Every year around Memorial Day, Veterans of Foreign Wars members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute red poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans.
  • In Great Britain this day is commemorated as “Remembrance Day”.

The practice of sending roses to close family of fallen heroes has now become a tradition, so if you would like to honor and commemorate the memory of an Americans who died in military service, you can place such an order now.


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