Back To Blog

What is Memorial Day?

In the last days of Spring, all Americans commemorate those who died in the military service. Every year, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.

The history of Memorial Day goes back to the 19th century. People who lost their friends and relatives in the Civil War started to decorate the graves of their dead with flowers, wreaths, and flags. That is why the initial name of the holiday was Decoration Day.

After World War I, all Americans adopted this remembrance tradition of the Southern states and devoted it to all those who died in any military action. We are honoring men and women who gave their lives for our country up to now.

Today, people go to cemeteries to decorate the graves and pay homage to their dead. Typically, many Americans spend Memorial Day getting together with their family for a picnic, BBQ and/or sporting events. Although, this year may be a little different with social distancing and all.

What is the Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

If you are one of those asking “is Memorial Day not for veterans?” it is time to learn the answer. Since a lot of us still confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day, you should know the difference to avoid any misunderstanding.

These two holidays have different origins. The official observance of Memorial Day started in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery where people decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers with flowers. This tradition was extended to commemorate all military men and women who died in all American wars.

Veterans Day dates back to the early 20th century when Armistice Day was declared after World War I to honor the heroism of the American soldiers and their contribution to the world peace. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to “Veterans.” Ever since then Veterans Day is observed on November 11 to celebrate the veterans of all American wars.

What Do You Say To a Veteran on Memorial Day?

To express noble Memorial Day sentiments, you should remember that this is the time to commemorate those who gave their lives in service to our country. That is why you should not thank the living veterans on Memorial Day but show respect to their fallen comrades in arms, friends, and family.

We honor veterans on Veterans Day to express our gratitude and reverence for their service. On Memorial Day, we remember and grieve for those who died in wars. In such a way, we can deliberate on the price of war and pay tribute to those who paid in full.

So instead of looking for proper words to say to a veteran on Memorial Day, you should better visit a Veterans memorial or the USSAH National Cemetery and place flags and flowers on the graves, attend the Largest Memorial Day Parade and Concert, buy a poppy, or take part in the National Moment of Remembrance.

Do You Say Happy Memorial Day?

Over time people have adopted different attitudes to using a Memorial Day saying “Happy Memorial Day.”However, it might seem inappropriate to wish a day of bitter and painful memories to be happy. Since those of us who lost their loved ones in the wars can get genuinely fragile and emotional on Memorial Day, you should rather avoid using the word “happy.”

To be on the safe side, you can say things like “Have a nice day today” or “I hope you have a fine day today.” If you plan to honor a person whose relative died in the service, you can express your appreciation for their sacrifices in the following ways:

  • I remember and deeply appreciate the ultimate sacrifice [name of a fallen hero] made.

  • I share your tremendous loss and offer my deepest gratitude for [name of a fallen hero] service.

  • I hope you have a nice time with your family and good memories of [name of a fallen hero] to honor [his or her] sacrifice.

By Writology

 

Lastly, on Memorial Day, may we all stop and take a moment to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to those who serve our country and to those that made the ultimate sacrifice!

Also, to honor health professionals, first responders and others who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Thank you all for your service! Everyone be well and stay safe!