In the United States, Memorial Day is observed the last Monday in May and honors those who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the military and defending our country. Memorial Day 2022 will occur on Monday, May 30. It is believed that the date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
It originated during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. More than a half dozen places have claimed to be the birthplace of the holiday. In Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, three women decorated the graves of loved ones who died in the Civil War. They returned in July 1865 accompanied by a large crowd of their fellow citizens for a more general commemoration.
Official Birthplace Declared.
In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.
Five Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day:
1. Attend a ceremony. Many towns have parades and ceremonies on Memorial Day and some events even conclude with a memorial service. Take some time from prepping for BBQs or relaxing with friends and family to take advantage of what your town has to offer.
2. Take a tour of a National Park. Over 400 national park sites exist in the U.S. and each of them offer a unique look at America. Plan a tour of your nearest national park and discover the history of these landmarks.
3. Shop at a veteran-owned business. If you're planning on eating out or shopping on Memorial Day, consider visiting businesses owned and operated by veterans or military families. Click here to find a master list of veteran-owned businesses, covering everything from hardware stores to fine dining.
4. Listen to veterans' stories. Even if you don't know a veteran personally (FWIW, you probably do), listen to a range of stories from active military members and veterans through Storycorps oral history. Or if you'd rather read your way through history, choose from top military memoirs like Band of Brothers, Guts 'n Gunships, or The Things They Cannot Say.
5. Decorate your house. Twirl up your house with patriotic decor and other red, white, and blue decorations that are cute and inexpensive to show your appreciation for the people who have served our country.
About the Author
Rabih Hamawi is a principal at the Law Office of Rabih Hamawi, P.C. and focuses his practice on representing policyholders in fire, property damage, and insurance-coverage disputes against insurance companies and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents. He may be reached at (248) 905-1133.