While your Memorial Day weekend might be packed with family fun and summer activities, we also believe it's important to pause the festivities in remembrance of the real meaning and history of Memorial Day. In honor of that sentiment, we've put together a few interesting facts regarding Memorial Day and how it came to be.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, began during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. After World War I, it came to be observed in honor of those who had died in all U.S. wars, and its name changed to Memorial Day.
While Memorial Day has spawned many different traditions within communities, it also spawned several traditions by how the government observes the day as well.
Memorial Day has its own unique flag etiquette. At sunrise, anyone flying a flag should raise the flag briskly to full-staff then slowly lower the flag to half-staff, according to Gettysburg Flag. This is to honor the men and women who have fallen in the line of duty. At noon, the flag should be briskly raised to full-staff. This is to salute all of those who have served.
Another revered tradition of Memorial Day is the President of the United States placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For decades, presidents visited the hallowed site as a way to pay tribute to all of those who died fighting for their country. In addition to laying a wreath, the president, or a dignitary in his place, will deliver an address for the nearby amphitheater.
Another tradition is the national moment of silence. At 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, Americans are asked to pause for one minute to pay tribute to America's fallen soldiers. This became official after the passage of the The National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000.
Regardless of whatever your upcoming Memorial Day Weekend activities may be, please be safe and take a moment to reflect on the importance of this holiday.