Memorial Day on May 30 conjures images of hamburgers, hot dogs, swimming pools, and summertime for many Americans. But the last Monday in May serves, most importantly, as a time to honor those who died while fighting in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s a holiday steeped in somber American history and tradition. The day actually began as “Decoration Day,” following the Civil War, when mourners placed flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. Yes, Memorial Day has also come to signify the “unofficial” start of summer, but let’s remember the heroes who made it all possible.
Happy Memorial Day 2022
Men and women who’ve served and sacrificed their lives in the U.S. Armed Forces are honored on Memorial Day on May 30.
History of Memorial Day
The Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 when Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House on April 9. Over 620,000 soldiers died in the four-year conflict. General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization of Union veterans) would eventually select May 30, 1868, as a day to pay tribute to the fallen:
“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land…”
Logan apparently chose May 30 because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. States passed proclamations, and the Army and Navy adopted rules for proper observance at their facilities.
The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance — about 5,000 people. Small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition still followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.
By 1890, each Northern state had made Decoration Day an official holiday. But this was not the case in the South, where states continued to honor their dead on separate days until after the First World War.
The May 30 date held for decades. But, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change took place in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
How to Observe Memorial Day
Pay your respects
Lay flowers on the grave of a family member or friend who died while serving. If you don’t personally know any fallen soldiers, visit a local cemetery anyway. After all, they made the ultimate sacrifice for you.
Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance
By doing so, you’ll be joining millions of Americans in national unity to honor Memorial Day for what it truly is — a day to remember those who laid down their lives in service of their country and its citizens.
Fly the flag
If you have an American flag at home, be sure to fly it at half-mast until noon, then raise it to full mast for the rest of the day. The practice of lowering and then raising the flag has been observed for over 100 years to symbolize America’s persistence in the face of loss.
Why Memorial Day is Important
While the outdoor grilling, parades, and beautiful summer weather are some of our favorite perks of Memorial Day, the last Monday in May is the best time of year to quietly reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They make us feel inspired and challenged to be better— and that’s a wonderful feeling!
Summer — almost
We know, we know — summer officially begins on June 21. But in the minds of all Americans, summer actually begins on Memorial Day. That means it’s totally okay to dust off the grill, fill up the pool, and unplug.
Since Memorial Day is a federal holiday with a built-in three-day weekend, we have an extra day to catch up on quality time with family members. For those of us with relatives who died while serving in the military, Memorial Day is sacred.
Happy Memorial Day 2022 Quotes
- Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one – Baltasar Gracian
- The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree – Thomas Campbell
- Where liberty dwells, there is my country — Benjamin Franklin
- No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave — Calvin Coolidge
- Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened — Billy Graham
- “Here men endured that a nation might live.”—Herbert Hoover.
- “We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.”—Theodore Roosevelt
- “The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.”—Thomas Campbell
- “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” —John F. Kennedy
- “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”—Aristotle
- What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.” – Christopher Gadsden
- “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” – Elie Wiesel
- “Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps.” – Emily Potter
- “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.” – Sun Tzu
- “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
- “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller
Memorial Day Wishes for Friends
- Thank you to the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
- Let us remember those who courageously gave their lives.
- Join us as we remember and honor our heroes.
- Let’s use today to count our blessings and stand proud.
- Honoring our nation’s heroes on Memorial Day.
- We wish you a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.
- Today we honor those who made a great sacrifice for us.
- Let’s remember our fallen service members with pride this Memorial Day.
- Together we pay homage to those who have given us our freedom.
- We salute our fallen and give thanks on this Memorial Day.
- Today we express our gratitude to our fallen heroes.
- In remembrance of our heroes on this Memorial Day.
Happy Memorial Day Images