Memorial Day is the national holiday celebrated in America on May 30, the last Monday of May. This holiday began its recognition on May 30, 1868, and was originally called Decoration Day. Memorial Day serves as a holiday to recognize those who died in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Memorial Day used to be observed on May 30th every year, traditionally but is now viewed on the last Monday of May. As the holiday was still called Decoration Day, this upheld several Southern custom and holds deep precedence in Southern history, originating from the decoration of graves in the Civil War. It was a day to celebrate those that served and their service to the United States to honor their memory. But, the ritual of decorating graves is ancient in its practice. It was a simple and somber day for families to honor a lost one. This is still a typical tradition that is practiced all throughout the country, not only in the South but in the North as well, as it was adopted later on.
Wars have always been started and fought by men continuously throughout history. At the start of the Memorial Day tradition, it was mainly observed by wives of passed of those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, as they were primary decorators back when the tradition was still called Decoration Day. It wasn’t until 1948 that all women were able to become members of the United States Armed Forced, as the Women Armed Services Integration Act was set into place by President Truman. Though women are able to serve, there are still many facets of the U.S. military that exclude those from participating or feeling safe to participate.
Currently, in 2022, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May or the day before Sunday. While it is still a day of reflection and recognition fallen U.S. Armed Forces members, there are floats and street-wide parades for celebration among towns and cities. It’s an opportunity for unity among community members, as they set their chairs up on the side of the road to observe Memorial Day and the beginning of summer. The national holiday celebrates with the poppy flowers, in relation to the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. In the poem, a field of poppies grew among those who served graves. This has marked the flower as a token of remembrance. Aside from Memorial Day, use this week as a time of reflection.