Throughout American history, men and women have loved our country so deeply that they were willing to give their all to preserve its safety and freedom. On the last Monday in May, our nation honors the selfless heroes who gave their lives to defend the land we love and the freedoms we believe everyone deserves.
Memorial Day was first observed as Decoration Day on May 30, 1868. On that day, people decorated the graves of the Civil War soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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Ways to honor our fallen heroes
This tradition continues on Memorial Day when we reflect on the courage of service members who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. Here’s what you and your family can do to remember these heroes this Memorial Day:
- Display the flag – The U.S. flag is flown at half-staff from dawn until noon on Memorial Day. Some people also choose to fly the POW/MIA flag to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action. See tips for flying the flag.
- Visit a cemetery – Honor the memory of a family member or another veteran by putting flowers on their grave. Find veterans cemeteries near you.
- Join the national moment of silence – Pause wherever you are at 3 p.m. for a moment of silence to remember and honor the fallen.
- Attend local parades – Many cities and towns have Memorial Day parades to remember those who gave their lives for our country.
- Wear red poppies – Red poppies are worn on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war.
On this Memorial Day, honor America’s heroes. Contact your Military and Family Support Center to find local events.