Memorial Day and Veterans Day honor the military community. However, these patriotic holidays are often confused with each other. To better honor the true meaning of each day, here’s what you need to know.
Memorial Day is observed to honor soldiers who have died in military service, protecting and serving their country. Its origins go back to the post-civil war period. In 1866, residents of Waterloo, New York, began decorating soldiers’ graves with spring flowers. In fact, Memorial Day was originally called Decorating Day.
Veterans Day honors Americans who have served or are currently serving their country. The holiday is held annually on November 11, marking the anniversary of the end of World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, the federal government changed the name of the event to Veterans Day in 1954.
Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day
Many Americans celebrate the start of summer on Memorial Day with parties and barbecues. However, to honor the true meaning of the day, you can:
• Hang a flag outside your home
• Attend a Memorial Day Parade
• Observe a minute of silence at 3 p.m.
• Visit a military grave
• Watch the National Memorial Day Concert
Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday in May. This year, the festival takes place on May 30.
Did you know?
Memorial Day has its own flag tag. At sunrise, the flags should be hoisted quickly to full reach, then slowly lowered to full reach. This is to honor soldiers who have fallen in the line of duty. At noon, the flag must be hoisted at the full staff. This is to salute all who have served.