American flags on top of gravestones at cemetery

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a holiday celebrated nationwide in the United States on the last Monday of May. This year, the holiday is happening on May 31, 2021. On this day, we honor those who had served in the United States military and died during war

On Memorial Day, some honor those who had served by visiting the graves or cemeteries of loved ones, or just fallen soldiers in general.

With the large death toll in recent wars, we take this day annually to remember those that sacrificed themselves for this country. We can reflect on their sacrifice, but also be thankful for their service to our country. Some other traditions for this day include parades, marches, and wearing a red poppy. The red poppy is an important symbol of those that had fallen on the field, and the tradition is inspired by a famous poem from World War I.

Memorial Day became a national holiday after being declared as one by Congress in 1971, either called the Decoration Day or Memorial Day. Decoration Day, another name commonly used for remembering soldiers, is on the same day as Memorial Day. On Declaration Day, soldiers are honored and remembered by decorating the graves of fallen soldiers, typically with flowers, which is why it is called Decoration Day. 

When Memorial Day was first established as a national holiday, it was to honor soldiers that had died during the American Civil War, but has now been extended to also honoring those that had died in wars afterwards, such as in the two world wars.

Vocabulary

EnglishEspañol
holidayun día feriado
we honorhonramos
militaryla militar
waren guerra/combate
soldierssoldados
paradesdesfiles
red poppyuna amapola roja
gravestumbas
flowersflores

Sources

Image: @justcasey76

“Memorial Day”. History, 18 May, 2020, www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history.

“Memorial Day”. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 July, 2015, www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp.

“Memorial Day 2021”. The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 14 Jan, 2021, www.almanac.com/content/when-memorial-day.

Leave a Reply