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How to Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

By Grace Nakimura on May 24, 2018

memorial day flags in field commemorating fallen soldiers in war
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Memorial Day Weekend is upon this year. What plans do you have to celebrate the holiday in 2018? Do you plan on taking advantage of the Memorial Day sales? You may even be thinking what is Memorial Day anyways and why do we take the long weekend to reflect? Take a peek at our article to give you some Memorial Day spirit and have a happy Memorial Day!

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memorial day statue of soldier carrying another in war

Memorial Day Weekend has ancient roots that date back to 431 B.C. to the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. You may have thought this is an American holiday (it is) but the tradition dates back to times of old when the Greeks and Romans would take time to honor those who have fallen in war. They would decorate the fallen’s graves with flowers and hold public feats and festivals in their honor. Thought at the time it was not called “Memorial Day”, we can trace back to these times.

One of the oldest on record commemorations occurred near the end of the civil war. Captured Union soldiers were placed in camps where more than 250 soldiers passed due to the harsh conditions. Three weeks after the Confederate surrender more than 1000 recently freed slaves visited the camp to build a proper burial site for the fallen Union soldiers who fought for their freedom. The group honored the fallen by placing flowers, reading scriptures, and singing hymns which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

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memorial day flowers in field to commemorate soldiers

In May of 1868 General John A. Logan issued a statement declaring that May 30th should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the Civil War. This would be known as “Decoration Day”. The United States embraced the idea of a national Memorial Day immediately and states held their own individual holidays. Finally, in 1971 when the U.S. was in the thick of the Vietnam war Memorial Day became an official national holiday.

 

memorial in remembrance of korean war american veterans

There are many traditions held to honor the fallen warriors of the past and present. Though some forget the importance of the holiday and use the long weekend to “get away” it is important to maintain the true spirit of the holiday and honor those who have fought for the freedoms we have today. One of the main customs is to hang your American flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raise the flag to the top of the staff in the afternoon.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died serving in the military. Volunteers will place American flags on the tombs of those who have passed and are no longer with us. As of 2000 Congress passed a legislation to encourage all Americans to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.

 

couple carrying the american flag on memorial day

It is important to enjoy time with family and friends during any holiday, especially if there is time off of work. Though you should also take the time to honor those who have fought for the freedoms we have today as well as those who perished long ago. We hope you enjoy the long weekend this year by taking the time to follow some of our long-term traditions. Wishing you and yours a Happy Memorial Day 2018!

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