How many of us remember the sacrifices of our fallen heroes who stood by our nation when it needed them the most? Well, one may not recollect these men and women every day, but however, we cannot let the sacrifices of these people go in vain. How about dedicating a whole day to the memory of these unsung heroes? And that is exactly what Memorial Day is all about.
In this article, we will explore what Memorial Day means to America and its people, how it all started, some quotes on Memorial Day and how people wish and greet each other. We will also find out if it is right to say “Happy Memorial Day”.
The Tradition of the Memorial Day
What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is observed to pay tribute to and remember all those men and women from the US military services who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation.
Memorial Day Vs Veterans Day
Many people confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day, however, there is a thin line of difference between the two. Both these days are observed to honor the men and women who dedicated their lives for the country’s sake in some manner or the other.
Veterans Day is observed to honor the services of retired and current, living or dead military men and women in the US. It falls on November 11 every year. Originally, it was known as Armistice Day. The main purpose of Armistice Day was to honor the fallen heroes of World War I.
Memorial Day is mainly observed to honor those military warriors who laid down their lives for the nation’s sake. It is more to do with paying homage and offering respect to all those brave soldiers.
Origin of Memorial Day
The origins of Memorial Day date back to sometime in the 1860s era. It was the time when the Civil War was just over. Initially, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day. On the 5th of May 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) decided to observe Decoration Day as a day to “decorate” the graves of all the brave warriors who died while serving the country with flowers and flags.
Who is generally considered the founder of Memorial Day?
In the US, flowers bloom in abundance throughout the country around the end of May. Therefore, Major General John A. Logan decided to do the honors on the 30th of the same month. Hence, May 30, 1868, holds a special day in history as the very first Memorial Day ever observed.
History of Memorial Day
The very first ceremony on 30 May 1868 was observed at Arlington National Cemetry. Various Washington dignitaries like Gen and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant were present at the event. Once all the speeches and addresses were done, around 5000 people – kids from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home as well as GAR members showered around 20,000 graves with flowers.
These graves belonged to both the Union and Confederate soldiers. Both children and adults sang religious hymns and prayed for the eternal peace of these brave men and women while doing this lovely act of grave decoration.
Even before the official declaration to observe Memorial Day, people had already started pouring in their tributes to Civil War heroes. Something of this sort happened on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina. Here, a few survivors of the Civil War had gathered in a burial place to give a proper farewell to the Union armed forces who perished in the war.
Is Memorial Day a Federal Holiday?
To answer the above question, presently, Memorial Day is recognized as a federal holiday. Starting in 1873, New York started observing and declaring Memorial Day as a legal holiday. Post this, many other cities started following suit. Towards the end of the 19th century, most American cities and states started recognizing Memorial Day as a legitimate holiday.
As World War I ended, Memorial Day became an occasion to offer tributes to all those Americans who perished in the war as well. Slowly, Memorial Day found itself in the list of American national holidays.
When is Memorial Day observed?
From 1868 to 1970, Memorial Day was observed on 30 May every year. In 1971, Congress passed a bill for the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. During that time, it was decided that the last Monday of May was to be observed as Memorial Day. This practice has been followed every year to date.
Some veterans were against this idea as they were opposed to keeping Memorial Day on a Monday, as most people would take it as a long weekend and enjoy themselves. However, to date, Memorial Day is kept reserved for the last Monday in May.
In 2022, Memorial Day was observed on 30 May. This year, Memorial Day will fall on 29 May.
Confederate Memorial Day
Certain states down the South have a separate day to offer tributes to those warriors who died fighting in the Confederate War. This day is observed as Confederate Memorial Day and different states observe it during different times as follows:
- Texas – Observes it on the 19th of January every year
- Arkansas – Observes it on the third Monday of January every year
- Alabama and Mississippi – Both these places observe the Confederate Memorial Day on the fourth Monday of April
- Florida and Georgia – Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated on April 26 every year in these places
- North and South Carolina – Observe it on the 10 of May
- Virginia – Observes it on the last Monday of May; coincides with Memorial Day
- Louisiana and Tennessee – Confederate Memorial Day is observed on June 3 every year at these places
Every year, a ceremony is organized at Arlington National Cemetry where a small American flag is placed on every tomb. As a ritual, either the President or the Vice President garlands the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a floral wreath. Every year, around 5000 people on average witness this ceremony.
Which famous monument was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1922?
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1922. It is one of the monuments built to honor the late President. It is one of the central places of tourist attractions in Washington and has attracted huge crowds.
The monument is in the shape of a Greek Doric temple. A huge sculpture of President Lincoln sits inside the monument. It also contains inscriptions of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address.
Memorial Day Parade
Various American cities organize a Memorial Day Parade as a tribute to all those people who gave up their lives while protecting the country. The idea behind organizing such parades is to make Americans understand the true importance of this day.
- The very first Memorial Day parade was held in 1867 in Pennsylvania.
- The city of Ironton in Ohio has been organizing and holding Memorial Day Parades since 1868. It is infamously called the “Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day Parade.”
- In Washington DC, the National Memorial Day Parade goes on for almost three hours and passes via the National Mall on Constitution Avenue. Around 10,000 participants are a part of this annual event.
- Washington DC’s National Memorial Day Parade and the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade organized in Queens, New York claim to be the biggest Memorial Day parades in the whole of America.
Happy Memorial Day Quotes to pay tribute to our heroes
Every year, Memorial Day has been exclusively dedicated to paying our respects and gratitude to all those who cared more for America than anything else. Many great people and leaders have brought out some of the most inspirational Memorial Day quotes. Let us have a look at each of them.
Famous Memorial Day Quotes by great people
- “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis
- “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” – General Douglas MacArthur
- Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” – Mary Roach
- “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” – Unknown
- “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” – Norman Schwarzkopf
- “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai Stevenson
- “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” – Charles de Gaulle
- “America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels.”– Claudia Pemberton
- “I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” – John Thune
- “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller
- “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” – Bob Riley
- “There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.” – Nick Lampson
- “Over all our happy country – over all our Nation spread, is a band of noble heroes–is our Army of the Dead.” – Will Carleton
- “What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.” – Christopher Gadsden
- “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
- “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.” – George S. Patton
- “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Nathan Hale
- “I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. – James A. Baldwin
- “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” – William J. Clinton
- “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain
- “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
- “You will never do anything in this world without courage.” – Aristotle
- “Never was so much owed by so many few.”– Winston Churchill
- “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” – Calvin Coolidge
- “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan
- “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.”– Eleanor Roosevelt
- “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
- “Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.” – Barack Obama
- “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no future.” – Elie Wiesel
Also Read: 18+ movies about the life of Princess Diana
Memorial Day Quotes
Memorial Day might be a holiday for some of us to rejoice and enjoy the long weekend, however, in reality, it is truly an emotional moment for those who have either lost their near or dear ones or who were a part of the military forces. Even a moment of silence from us in memory of those who died will mean a lot to those who have been martyred.
For those who have lost their close aides, Memorial Day is something that comes with a bag of mixed emotions for them. While some even dread to think of this day, there are others who recollect it with fond memories of those who have lost their lives
How can we wish our family and friends on Memorial Day? Can we simply wish each other a “Happy Memorial Day” or should there be something more to it? One may even wonder whether it is even correct on our part to say “Happy Memorial Day” since it involves paying tributes and respects to all those military men who were martyred. However, we feel there is nothing bad in it as long as your intentions are good and your words directly come from your heart.
Let us look at some of the best Memorial Day wishes that could really end up touching a few hearts.
Memorial Day Greetings / Happy Memory Day Quotes
- Let us pay a tribute to all those unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives while performing their duties. Happy Memorial Day to you!
- Every minute of the freedom that we are enjoying is the outcome of the sweat and blood of our martyred soldiers. Warm greetings on Memorial Day!
- On the occasion of Memorial Day, let us not forget the sacrifices put in by the Bravehearts of our country. Warm wishes to you on the occasion!
- Rather than treating this day as just another holiday, let us use it to pay homage to all those who died fighting for the country. Happy Memorial Day!
- Let us make this Memorial Day truly memorable by dedicating a moment of our lives to the memory of all those true heroes of our nation. Happy Memorial Day!
- Let us not forget the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers. Let us remember to thank those brave men and women for their efforts. We have attained our freedom at the cost of their lives. Happy Memorial Day!
- Every Memorial Day keeps reminding us of all those brave men and women who lost their lives for America and Americans. Happy Memorial Day!
- Dedicating this day in the memory of all our brave soldiers. Greetings on Memorial Day!
- The greatest sacrifices in our country have been made by them. Let us dedicate this day to them. Happy Memorial Day!
- Let us keep them alive in our memories even though they are no longer amongst us anymore. Warm greetings to you on this Memorial Day!
- On this day let us pledge that we will not let the sacrifices of our brave hearts go down the drain. Greetings for Memorial Day!
Thank You Memorial Day Quotes
Some of the best quotes and wishes under this section are listed below. Take a look.
- We fall short of words when we wish to thank our brave soldiers who gifted us this freedom. Warm wishes on Memorial Day!
- This Memorial Day, let us dedicate a small amount of time from our busy schedules to express gratitude to all those brave men and women who put our country as the topmost priority. Happy Memorial Day!
- Martyrs are not dead. They will be forever alive in our memories and we can never thank them enough. Happy Memorial Day!
- Let us consider ourselves lucky and thank our stars to be born in a country that has given birth to inspirational heroes. Greetings this Memorial Day!
- This day is a great day to thank our national heroes for sacrificing their lives for our sake. Happy Memorial Day!
- One way to thank our veterans for their sacrifices would be to dedicate a complete day to their memory. Happy Memorial Day!
Happy Memorial Day Desserts
Memorial Day desserts can have some form of patriotism as well, with some or the other linking to America. Let us check out a few of these.
1. Berry Pies topped with Mini Stars
Check out these lovely berry pies with tiny stars on them. What do you think these look like? Don’t you think they contain the colors of the American flag? Well, look again.
Check out the recipe here.
2. Peanut-Banana Pudding
This is a classic American dessert. Now, what’s so special about this banana pudding? Apart from the goodness of bananas and peanuts, this delicacy also contains a little tinge of salt. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
Get the recipe here.
3. Raspberry Crumb Bars
Loaded with almonds and oats, these crunchy raspberry bars are extremely delicious.
Check this page for the recipe.
4. Patriotic Dessert composed of Blueberries and Strawberries
Check out this yummy and delicious cheesecake kind of dessert topped with blueberries and strawberries.
Doesn’t it resemble an American flag? Take a look at the recipe here.
5. Red, White, and Blue Cake
This is yet another delicious patriotic-themed dessert made from strawberries, blueberries, gelatin, and cream. If you are planning on having a get-together at your place on Memorial Day, you can try out this recipe. It is patriotic and tasty too!
We have written this article with the hope that all our readers understand the true essence of Memorial Day and how it is just not another holiday. After going through this article, you will understand the efforts and the pain put in by our brave heroes and that they truly deserve our appreciation and recognition. We understand that lives once lost cannot be revived again, but the memories of certain people rule our hearts forever.
FAQs about Memorial Day
Is it correct to say Happy Memorial Day?
“Happy Memorial Day”, when said with good intentions is absolutely fine and there is nothing wrong with it. Although, one must take care to not use these words as wishes to the family members of those who have died as Memorial Day could bring painful memories for them.
What is a good message for Memorial Day?
A good Memorial Day message will have some words that can melt your heart. Check out this beautiful message by Lee Greenwood – “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.”
What is the meaning of Happy Memorial Day?
The wish “Happy Memorial Day” urges everyone to pray for those soldiers and brave souls who died serving America and its people.
Is Memorial Day just for veterans?
Memorial Day is for those military people who died in various battles. It is not dedicated to veterans who are alive.
How do you honor Memorial Day?
The true essence of Memorial Day is when everyone in the country pays tribute or dedicates a little bit of their time to remembering those who died for the country.
What do you post on Memorial Day?
Memorial Day posts usually contain content expressing gratitude to those military men and women who perished in their line of duty.
What color represents Memorial Day?
Color codes for Memorial Day include the following:
- As Memorial Day has a strong connection with the military force, one of the colors is military greens (subtle olives and wasabi greens).
- Yellow color, since it is the official color belonging to the armor branch.
- Purple, since it is associated with the purple heart of valor
Is Memorial Day for all loved ones?
Memorial Day is not for all loved ones. It is only for the deceased from the military who died in various battles.
What do people do on Memorial Day?
On Memorial Day, people offer their tributes and homages to dead military men and women by decorating their graves with flowers and placing American flags on them. Memorial Day parades are also organized in various cities.
Why do we pause at 3 pm on Memorial Day?
On Memorial Day, 3 pm is a time dedicated to the “National Moment of Remembrance.” This time was chosen because most Americans are in a holiday mood during that time and a moment’s pause is something that can be done by anyone at any place wherever they are.
What flower is worn on Memorial Day?
Red poppies are worn on Memorial Day.
What are Memorial Day flowers?
Memorial Day flowers are dedicated to honoring the departed military souls. Traditionally, the red poppy flowers and the red and white gladioli are used. People also consider using red roses, carnations and gerberas; white lilies, and blue delphinium, blue hydrangea, or blue iris flowers.
Does Memorial Day honor those who died after serving?
Memorial Day honors those veterans who died while in service. It does not honor those veterans who died outside of their service.