Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May commemorating men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This year the holiday falls on 30 May.
General John Logan proclaimed the day in 1868. Initially, Memorial Day was a holiday in memory of the soldiers who died in the American Civil War. The name was originally Decoration Day, because people placed flowers on the graves of soldiers. After World War I the nature of the holiday changed to honor the memory of all Americans who died in any war – not only the American Civil War. It became a federal holiday in 1971.
Memorial Day Weekend, as it is often referred to, is always a three-day weekend. It is also unofficial beginning of the summer vacation season. It lasts until the first Monday in September, which is Labor Day.
Kick off summer on Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally a very joyous occasion in the USA. It’s a time to celebrate the start of summer and it is usually associated with cheerful days spent in parks, on the beach, or drinking with friends at sunny rooftop bars.
If you’re new to living in the United States, it may be a great way to get outside. It’s also a good way to make new friends, so even if you don’t feel like being social or partaking, it could be a good way for you to build a larger community of friends and acquaintances in your new city or town.
It is also a good way to get to know the public spaces in your city or town. So ask around or do some research to find a new park, beach, bar or restaurant where you can soak up the sun this coming summer.
Perhaps you’re a bit tired of the city, the Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to book a weekend away or even just to take a day and drive out of the city for a day in the countryside. If you don’t have the luxury of a car, have a look at the trains or buses in your city and see where they can take you. It could be the perfect excuse for an adventure!
Memorial Day concerts and parades
Of course Memorial Day isn’t only about parties, picnics and indulging in a long weekend. It is also about honoring the men and women who have died serving in our armed forces. Perhaps the best way in which to partake is to attend one of the many Memorial Day parades that are happening across the country. Large cities like New York and Washington have several in different suburbs. Most of the parades will take place on the Monday.
The largest parade takes place in the capital, Washington, DC. The National Memorial Day Parade sees marching bands, youth groups, floats, performers and, of course, veterans, marching down Constitution Avenue. The parade is also televised, so if you can’t attend, you can tune in. It starts at 2pm (Eastern Time).
Some larger cities also organize Memorial Day concerts, so if you enjoy live entertainment, have a look at the events calendar in your area for a fun, outdoor concert.
Staying in on Memorial Day
If sport is more your thing, then you should definitely tune in to, or attend, the Major League Football games that take place on Memorial Day every year. Major League Baseball will hold moments of silence prior to all games throughout this Memorial Day weekend to honor those who have died in service to their nation.
Invite some friends over or take snacks and beer to your friends’ place and enjoy an afternoon of exciting sport and good company while honoring our heroes.
Connecting with family on Memorial Day
If you live far away from your family, Memorial Day weekend might have a completely different meaning for you. It might be a day where you finally get the time to get in touch with your family. Make time on the Sunday or the Saturday to phone them up, whether it’s only a voice call or a proper video call, and share more of your lives with one another.
Ask your family if they are still doing well, find our how they are doing with their money matters. You are most likely sending money online to them, but it’s always good to check in and see where the money is going and whether you’re still supporting them sufficiently.
Whatever you decide to do this Memorial Day, make it something special. After all, it only comes around once a year!