Memorial Day Graphic
In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Image:

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all the men and women who have died whilst serving in the U.S. military. It is also a time to honor their memory, and one way to do this is by spending it with loved ones and indulging in outdoor activities such as picnics. This Memorial Day, as we remember and honor the sacrifices made by our heroes, let's explore how this day came to be and what we can do to make it a meaningful celebration. 

Prior to being called Memorial Day, it was known as Decoration Day and originated in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Some records indicate that the first formal commemoration of this day took place in Charleston, South Carolina in May 1865 by recently freed slaves. Although it wasn't an official holiday, by the late 1800s, there were numerous annual observances taking place across the country. It wasn't until 1971 when it was designated as a federal holiday by Congress, that an official date was set to honor the memory of all the American soldiers who served valiantly.

Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of summer, prompting many families to kick off the season with outdoor activities such as picnics. It's no wonder why picnics have become a beloved activity of this holiday. They offer an opportunity to bond and make memories with loved ones while enjoying the beauty of nature. To make the day extra special, you could consider packing a patriotic-themed picnic with red, white, and blue colored foods and decorations. Additionally, you could opt to visit a historic site or war memorial before or after celebrating with a picnic. This way you can pay tribute to America’s heroes while celebrating life with your loved ones.

While Memorial Day is typically celebrated with outdoor activities, it is also a day of reflection, especially for those who have lost loved ones during their service to the country. There are various ways to pay tribute, which may include visiting a cemetery or war memorial to lay flowers and honor their memory. Some communities hold parades or services in honor of those who have served and to recognize those who have protected our country.

Another meaningful way to remember our heroes would be to donate to organizations that aid the families of veterans and active duty service members. These families often face financial or emotional challenges, and our support can help them get back on their feet. This year, consider donating to veterans’ organizations in their honor and helping their families at the same time.

Memorial Day celebrates the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform who have fallen to protect the values and freedoms we all cherish. Let us remember that while we enjoy the company of loved ones over a picnic, we honor they won't return to their families and loved ones. This Memorial Day, honor those who have protected and served our country by visiting historic sites, remembering our heroes, and celebrating life with loved ones.

5 Resources To Learn More About Memorial Day

  1. History.com: Memorial Day
  2. Department of Veterans Affairs: National Moment of Remembrance 
  3. American Red Cross: How to Celebrate Memorial Day
  4. US Department of Defense: The History of Memorial Day 
  5. US Department of Labor: National Moment of Remembrance web page 

The Memorial Day holiday is an important day for honoring our nation's fallen heroes and remembering their service and sacrifice. We hope that these resources can help you learn more about Memorial Day and help you to recognize those who have given so much for our country. Thank you to all of our veterans and their families for their service.

May we always remember them. God bless the United States of America!

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