Memorial Day

Date

  • In general: the last Monday in May
  • 2011 date: May 30
  • 2012 date: May 28
  • 2013 date: May 27
  • 2014 date: May 26
  • 2015 date: May 25

History

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday. It was formerly known as Decoration Day, which was first observed by Freedmen in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865, at the Washington Race Course, to remember the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. The recognition of the fallen victims was then enacted under the name Memorial Day by an organisation of Union veterans to honour Union soldiers of the American Civil War. Over time, it was extended after World War I to honour all Americans who have died in all wars. Now known as Memorial Day, it is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Traditional observance

Many people observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries. Some of the longest-standing traditions are the following events:
  • the running of the Indianapolis 500, an auto race, on the Sunday preceding the Memorial Day holiday;
  • the Coca-Cola 600 stock car race;
  • the Memorial Tournament golf event on or close to the Memorial Day weekend;
  • the National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the United States Capitol.
Memorial Day is generally associated with the start of the summer season. Therefore, it is common to inaugurate the outdoor cooking season on Memorial Day with a barbeque.
 
 

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