Memorial Day is a US Federal Holiday, celebrated on the last Monday in May. It is a day dedicated to remembering those brave individuals who gave their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is believed the holiday originated in the late 1800's, however the practice of decorating Soldiers' graves is something that has been done for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Various commemorative ceremonies to honor the fallen have been held in towns throughout the US, but it wasn't until 1966 that it was officially named a Federal Holiday by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
It is hard to know just how many official Memorial Day events occur each year, but it is safe to say that almost every city and town in the US celebrates. Every part of the country is affected by war and knows someone who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day also means an unofficial start to summer, a reason to get together with friends and family, a chance to do some work in the yard, a long weekend to go on vacation or just an extra day to relax.
Whatever Memorial Day means to you, we hope you have a safe weekend. Here are a few family-friendly activity suggestions you can do:
Attend a Local Parade or Memorial Service
Many Cities and Towns put on a Memorial Day Parade for Memorial Day. Local Veteran organizations, as well as those currently serving will dress up and march in honor of the fallen. Some of our most special childhood memories are made at annual events like these, so grab the kids, some folding lawn chairs and a cooler. If you're lucky, you may even need to grab the sunscreen!
Visit a Cemetery, Monument or Museum
Just about every city and town has a cemetery or town War Monument. Some towns even have museums. Many hold commemorative events such as ceremonies, music, exhibits, walking tours and history presentations on Memorial Day. These help to keep the memories of the fallen alive, and help the community highlight what these heroes have done for us. All Soldiers have a story to tell and it is very important to honor them by helping to share those stories. Many people believe the true meaning behind Memorial Day is sometimes lost among all of the other American Traditions associated with this weekend. Events like these are a great way to get an interesting history lesson in, while preserving the true meaning and significance of the Holiday.
Garden & Yard Work
For many people, the end of May marks the beginning of the summer season. Although it may still be a bit chilly in some parts of the country, Memorial Day is usually the rule of thumb gardeners use to determine when it is safe to plant outside without the threat of frost. In addition to planting, Memorial Day weekend is a great chance to set aside some time to get the yard cleaned up after a long winter. Fall and winter cause most trees and plants to shed their leaves, so if you didn't get to it in the fall you may need to roll up your sleeves and begin the clean-up. Snowy winter winds tend to push debris against buildings, fences and bushes. It is always a good idea to break out the rake, weed whacker and other necessary tools to tidy up all of those reminders of Old Man Winter and make room for the greenery to come!
What Does Memorial Day Mean To You?
Share your Memorial Day Weekend traditions and activities with us on social media this weekend by tagging #HABAusa. We would love to see what you and your family & friends are doing to celebrate and remember our fallen heroes.