MEMORIAL DAY: MAY 25, 2015

MEMORIAL DAY IN UNITED STATES

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

USA memorial day
Memorial Day remembers those who died serving the United States military.
©iStockphoto.com/ Alan Crosthwaite

What do people do?

It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is combined with Jefferson Davis’ Birthday in Mississippi.

Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.

Public life

Memorial Day is a federal holiday. All non-essential Government offices are closed, as are schools, businesses and other organizations. Most public transit systems do not run on their regular schedule. Many people see Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to go on a short vacation or visit family or friends. This can cause some congestion on highways and at airports.

Background

Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

Memorial Day Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Mon May 28 1990 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 27 1991 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 25 1992 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 31 1993 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 30 1994 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 29 1995 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 27 1996 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 26 1997 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 25 1998 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 31 1999 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 29 2000 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 28 2001 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 27 2002 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 26 2003 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 31 2004 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 30 2005 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 29 2006 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 28 2007 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 26 2008 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 25 2009 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 31 2010 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 30 2011 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 28 2012 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 27 2013 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 26 2014 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 25 2015 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 30 2016 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 29 2017 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 28 2018 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 27 2019 Memorial Day National holiday
Mon May 25 2020 Memorial Day National holiday

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