What Is Memorial Day All About?

By | May 7, 2017

What can you do to remember all who have fallen? Well, please read on and I will discuss that as well as what is Memorial Day? Formerly known as Decoration Day this day of the year lets us commemorate every man and woman who have died whilst serving in the United States military service.

What Is Memorial Day All About?

Have you got any military ancestors?

Before I do begin to discuss Memorial Day I just wanted to ask you one question. Do you know whether you had an ancestor in the military service? If you do know or even if you are not too sure then why not check out Ancestry. From this popular genealogy search website you can find your ancestors military records.

I like finding any records that I can about my ancestors. These are the usual documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates. But also there are other sources of information such as church records, newspaper articles, wills, and even military records.

Learning about where your ancestor was deployed and served can teach you so much about their past. So why not discover your military ancestor today and learn all about their military service?

Credit:   Ancestry

Special Date:

Memorial Day – Last Monday of May

Memorial Day/Jefferson Davis’ Birthday – Last Monday of May (Mississippi)


The Story Behind Memorial Day

The American Civil War was a war that saw the northern United States fight against their southern cousins. Even though this war only lasted for four years from 1861 to 1865 there was a huge loss of life. Up to an incredible 750,000 men lost their lives during this war which was even more than the casualties for the First and Second World Wars combined for the U.S.

Story Behind Memorial Day

Memorial Day began as a day to commemorate the Union soldiers, (northern United States), who died during the American Civil War. The southern states, (the Confederates), had already set aside a day of the year to honor their war dead on Confederate Memorial Day. And so the north followed suit.

The purpose of this day changed after the First World War when any and all men and women who died in either war or military action were honored.

Before the Second World War this day was known as Decoration Day. This day fell on May 30 every year, regardless of the day of the week. However, this all changed in 1968 when the Uniform Holidays Bill passed. This saw federal holidays created to make three-day weekends.

It was not until three years later in 1971 that the last Monday of May was observed as the day to remember and honor military service personnel who have died in conflict. It did though take a while for all states to adopt this new date.


What Can You Do?

You maybe wondering what you can do to remember not only your military ancestors but also the brave men and women who have fought for our country. There are many different ways that you can do this as I will explain below.

What can I do?

First of all why not visit the cemetery of your fallen ancestors and place some flowers on their grave. If you do not have any military ancestors then you can still visit a cemetery and do the same on a serviceman’s or woman’s grave. Many volunteers throughout the country do this as well as place an American flag on their grave.

Many people will fly the American flag at half mast throughout Memorial Day morning from dawn up until noon.

If you do rely on public transport then you will need to be aware that these services do not run on their regular service on this day. Memorial Day is in fact a federal holiday and so many Government offices are closed, together with businesses and schools.

Despite this day being set aside to remember the war dead its significance has declined in recent years. Many people will take advantage of this day off and spend time with their family and friends. They will have family gatherings and picnics as well. There are also may sporting events held on this day as well.

If you do decide to visit your family or catch up with friends then please also be aware that there will be congestion on the roads. The same can also be said for bus stations and at airports as well.


Final Thoughts

For me I love to find out the origins of days such as Memorial Day. I like to find out the history behind these days and know why they were originally created. Many of the special days of the year have lost their true meaning and have become too commercialized in recent times. Take Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for example.

We should all remember our military ancestors and any U.S. personnel who have died in war and conflict on this day. If you want to know more about your family tree then why not ask older relatives and find out about your heritage. You can learn so much from them so why not visit your relatives on Memorial Day.


Military Collection

If visiting your relatives is not an option then why not research your genealogy online. The Ancestry website is a great place for you to start your journey. This popular genealogy search website has many military records for you to check and find your war ancestors.

Discovering your military ancestors is a great way for you to discover your family tree. You can build on what you have learned about them and find out other parts of their life. Through Ancestry you can find church records, wills and probates, and also find out about their working life as well.


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to what Memorial Day is all about. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Author: Owain

Hello, Owain here. After researching my family history for a number of years I wanted to give back to the genealogy world. So here you will find guides, tips and product reviews that will help you on your genealogy journey.

4 thoughts on “What Is Memorial Day All About?

  1. Rhonda

    I have been toying with the idea of finding out more of my ancestery, since I know nothing about my mother’s side of the family. Your information and feelings on the subject may have given me the nudge to actually dig into it. Thank you for your insight and patriotism.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I am glad that I have inspired you Rhonda. Not only do I love origin stories but I like to find out all that I canabout my ancestors. So what better way than spendingsuch a holiday researching my family tree. All the best with yours.

      Reply
  2. Dale

    I did have ancestors in the military service some returned . Its a big day to show respect and appreciation to what made today possible. What an amazing site you have. It deserves to be shared.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you Dale for your kind comments. It is not only a day to show appreciation for our ancestors but also anyone who has served in the military. I do though like to think about my ancestors on such a day as this.

      Reply

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