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Throughout American history, brave service members have loved our country so deeply that they were willing to risk their lives to defend the land we love and the freedoms we believe everyone should have.
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.
Ways to honor our deceased heroes
The tradition continues this Memorial Day, when we reflect on the courage of service members who gave their lives for our country. Here are a few ways you and your family can remember and honor these heroes this Memorial Day:
- Take a moment to reflect on this Memorial Day video.
- View the Military In Lasting Tribute online memorial and reflect on some of our nation’s heroes.
- Display the flag. The U.S. flag is flown at half-staff from dawn until noon on Memorial Day. Some people also 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 a family member or any veteran by placing flowers on their grave.
Find a veterans cemetery near you.
- Join the national moment of silence. Pause wherever you are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day for a moment of silence to remember and honor those who died serving our country.
- Attend a local parade. Many cities and towns have Memorial Day parades.
Contact your Military and Family Support Center to find a local event.
- Wear red poppies. People often wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving our nation during war.
- Watch the America’s Gold Star Lapel Button video to learn more about how to honor gold star family members.
This Memorial Day, honor America’s heroes in these or other ways. If you are a survivor or know someone who is, please share these tools and resources for support.