Toward the end of May, Americans observe Memorial Day. Pancake breakfasts, BBQs, pool parties, and picnics are commonly held to celebrate the holiday and kick off the summer months, and many people also visit cemeteries or places that remind them of their loved ones. But what is Memorial Day, what is the history behind it, and why do we celebrate it?
In short, Memorial Day is a US national holiday that honors military members who died in service of their country. The holiday provides us a chance to remember the countless individuals who lost their lives and gives us an opportunity to come together with the families and communities they left behind to protect.
The FamilySearch blog explains more of the history behind Memorial Day and offers a few suggestions to make the holiday more meaningful for you and for your family. Here are some of the ideas they recommend:
- Watch a broadcast of the ceremony held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can watch a live broadcast and Memorial Day celebration from 2019 here.
- Visit a military cemetery to decorate graves with flowers or flags.
- Record stories and memories of your military relatives.
- Share family photos of your military ancestors on social media or with family, or try looking for resemblances between you and your ancestors.
- Observe a moment of silence at 3:00 p.m., the national moment of remembrance.
- Learn about your military ancestors by diving into military records.
Get other ideas and learn more about the origins of Memorial Day on FamilySearch.