The meaning behind Memorial Day

Memorial Day Monday often doesn’t get enough credit from students for its importance. Observed on the last Monday of May, it is often looked upon as a day off of school. However, Memorial Day is a very important Holiday for Americans and emphasizes the importance of the loss of life and service that soldiers have given to the United States. It’s a day to recognize the strength of the soldiers who died and their families.

Memorial Day began around the time of the end of the Civil War. Although it wasn’t officially celebrated as a federal holiday until 1971, Memorial Day has been celebrated by various towns throughout America since the 1860s.

Memorial Day is unique because it specifically honors the veterans who died in war. It has its similarities to Veteran’s day, which is to honor those who have served or served in the military- whether it was during war or during peacetime. However, Memorial Day is its own holiday because it is a day of remembrance and reflection on those who valiantly fought in honor of their own country and died. 

Many people celebrate Memorial Day with backyard cookouts, snacks and family, but it’s also important to set aside some time to think about what the holiday really means. Although it may be fun to have a day off, it’s important to reflect on what the people who came before have done for the greater good of America. Some ways you can celebrate in a meaningful way are: watching the PBS Memorial Day Parade on May 30th, 2020, listening to veterans speak about their experiences with loss in war or even dive into the history of Memorial Day to remind yourself why it’s so important. 

As Memorial Day approaches, all American people can be excited to learn about the meaning of the true Holiday and what it really represents. Hopefully, as you go on you can remember all the veterans who passed, and why they are being remembered on that day.

Flags line the driveway and adorn each grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, in observance of Memorial Day. (OS2 John Bouvia)