Memorial Day is observed in the United States on the last Monday of May. While it is a federal day in the US, in India and parts of the world too, the day is observed by many multinational companies and institutions having an affiliation with the US. Many offices are closed on this day. Here's all you need to know about Memorial Day.
Memorial Day - how it began
Initially, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day and was observed to honour Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the people in the Southern states who honoured their dead.
After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. Hence, the day today is observed to honour all men and women who gave their lives in military service for the United States.
Memorial Day used to be held on May 30. From 1971, Memorial Day holiday began to be officially observed on the last Monday in May.
How is the Memorial Day observed in the US?
1. All schools, businesses and non-essential government offices are closed on this day.
2. Traditionally, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season.
3. It is traditional to fly the US flag at half mast for the first half of the day.
4. Many visit cemeteries and memorials to pay homage to those who have died in military service.
5. Many volunteers place a US flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
6. Memorial Day is also marked along with Jefferson Davis' birthday in Mississippi.
7. Many people organise several cultural events and fun activities to mark the day.
8. The fashion-conscious wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labour Day.