Memorial Day is being celebrated at the last Monday of May every year. This year Memorial Day will be on May 27th. On this day all soldiers that have died while serving their country are being honoured. It is not just a sad day, it is also the first day of summer, which makes for a lot of fun activities.
Why the name Memorial Day?
In 1868 Decoration Day was celebrated for the first time. They called this day Decoration Day since they used to decorate the graves of passed away soldiers with flowers. This day was originally meant for passed away soldiers of the Union (1861- 1865). After the first world war they expanded to honouring all soldiers that died while serving their country, and they renamed the day Memorial Day.
On this day many people pay a visit to the graves and memorial sites. Sometimes to visit the grave of a family member, sometimes just to remember what happened and to think about the fact that people died to protect the freedom of The United States. They place small American flags at the graves. Like said before, this is also the first day of the summer. For this reason, people often go picnicking or visit events. From this day on people are allowed to wear white clothing until Labor Day. People also have family barbeques on or visit the beach this day, this way they are able to spend the day together.
The national commemoration takes place on Arlington National Cemetery, which is located close to Washington DC. Naturally the American flag hangs half-mast during this day from sunset to noon. In The Netherlands we also celebrate Memorial Day. On this day we commemorate the American soldiers that have given their life for the freedom of The Netherlands. They are being honoured in Margraten at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial. 8,301 soldiers are buried at this cemetery. This cemetery is known for the thousands of white crosses. We celebrate Memorial Day on the last Sunday of May, this year that means on May 28th. To commemorate the soldiers, wreaths are laid down and jet fighters will fly over the cemetery in ‘Missing Man’ formation.