Memorial Day is fast approaching. And with it, the promise of fireflies, barbecues with friends and families, trips to the beach, cold ice cream, and evening dinner parties outside on the patio. It’s easy to sometimes forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. So, here’s a little history about the day.
The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in service to the military. From a protocol perspective, if you do plan on honoring those that have died while serving by hanging the U.S. flag, the U.S. Flag’s website has everything you need to know on flag etiquette.
On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.