As many of you may know, yesterday the United States celebrated Memorial Day. It is annually celebrated the last Monday in May to commemorate soldiers who have died in service. Flags are flown at half-mast from dawn until noon, while volunteers distribute small flags to gravestones in national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance is taken at 3 P.M. local time.
This tradition dates back to the American Civil War to mourn the many lost in the gruesome domestic battle, which ushered the abolition of slavery. Memorial Day was therefore celebrated very close to the date of reunification of the Union. After World War I, Memorial Day was extended to embody all of those who died in battle as a gesture toward the universal affliction suffered in war.
The day has gone on to develop a few new identities. In line with its history, Memorial Day is a chance for many Americans to visit the graves of their ancestors, whether or not they were causalities of the war. It has aptly become a day to appreciate the families past and to appreciate the triumphs and defeats of the American Dream and humanity at large.
Memorial Day has also become the unofficial start of summer, an opening gate to swimming pools, freshly mown grass, lightning bugs and charcoal grilled meats. It is a seminal tradition for families to convene and celebrate life. Often big open-air lunches and outdoor activities are organized. The day represents 5% of annual beers sales across the states, and one can only wonder how many hot dogs. Big cities and small towns alike sway to the beat of marching bands. Traffic is slowed to a crawl by the many parades. This tradition dates back to the “Blue-Grey Reunion”, a parade to remember the battle of Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest in American history. Water parks open, beaches become fiercely populated and the Indy 500 roars across millions of TV screens since its inception in 1911. At night fireworks crackle and local bars swell with American classic tunes.
It is a day that celebrates the past, traditions, family, and our future.
MyHeritage.com would like to honor and celebrate your family and send our wishes that your Memorial Holiday was spent in its appreciation.