For most, Memorial Day Weekend is filled with barbeques, picnics and time spent with family to celebrate the unofficial start to the summer season. But for military families, Memorial Day may evoke painful memories and feelings of grief.

What is Memorial Day and why do we celebrate it?

On May 30, 1868, Memorial Day was first observed as Decoration Day. That day, flowers were placed on the graves of Civil War soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed the last Monday of May each year, that honors the men and women who have passed away while serving in the United States military. 

Ways to Honor Fallen Heroes

This Memorial Day, take a moment to honor the fallen heroes who gave their lives for our country.

  • Take a moment of silence at 3 PM your local time for the National Moment of Remembrance.
  • Show your patriotism by flying your American flag. The formal ritual is for the flag to hang at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day and then raised to the top for the rest of the day. 
  • Go to a Memorial Day parade.
  • Visit a military cemetery or war memorial. 
  • Put together a care package for soldiers and distribute through a reputable charity.
  • Drop off a dessert to a local military family.
  • Donate to a charity that supports military families.
  • Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS
  • Tell a story or share a photo on social media about a friend or family member that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. 
  • Call, text, or visit someone that has lost a soldier. Celebrate the memory of this hero. 
  • Be thankful for our fallen soldiers and extend your thoughts and prayers for their families.

This Memorial Day, and every day is a reason to be kind to our military members, their families, and have high regard for those fallen soldiers and the country they bravely defended. There is no way we can repay the debt these heroes paid for us, but we can and must reflect, honor, and remember their sacrifice to this country.