Holidays in America: Memorial Day
Memorial Day is an American Holiday that always takes place on the last Monday in May. In 2021, that lands on May 31, the last day of the month. This makes the three day weekend that marks the beginning of summer in the minds of many Americans, no matter what the calendar says (the official start of summer is on the summer solstice, which is June 20, 2021).
Memorial Day began during the American Civil War (1861-65). People would place flowers at the graves of soldiers who died in battle. Since then, it has become a time to remember all military personnel who have died.
People still celebrate Memorial Day by placing flowers and American flags at the graves of soldiers, as well as with parades. Military veterans will often march, as as well as others, such as high school marching bands, service groups, and local politicians. Bystanders sit or stand along the parade route, waving small US flags. The poppy is a prominent symbol of Memorial Day, and people will often wear paper poppies in remembrance. Government offices, banks, and many business offices are closed on this day, although shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues are not.
Many Americans celebrate Memorial Day by getting together with friends and family. Since this is generally considered the start of summer grilling season, hamburgers and hot dogs are popular foods, as are baked beans, potato salad, and deviled eggs. (To make deviled eggs, hard boil, cool, and peel six eggs. Slice them in half lengthwise and gently remove the yolks. In a bowl, mash the yolks with 1/4 of a cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 a teaspoon of ground mustard, and a 1/4 teaspoon of seasoned salt. Spoon this mixture back into the hollows of the whites, sprinkle with paprika, and serve.)
It can be difficult to remember the difference between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Both are “three day weekend summer holidays,” but which one is at the beginning of summer, and which is at the end? If you remember that Memorial and May both start with “M,” you’ll never need to wonder again.
Memorial Day has a solemn basis, but it isn’t a time to be sad. This day of remembrance is also a time of celebration and togetherness. Memorial Day has a solemn basis, but it isn’t a time to be sad. This day of remembrance is also a time of celebration and togetherness. If you’d like to read about Memorial Day with your children, I’ve linked to some good choices below.