Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

Each year, on the last Monday in May, we take a moment to remember those who have sacrificed so much for us.


Where it began

Shortly after the Civil War ended, Decoration Day was created to observe fallen soldiers by decorating their gravesites with flowers. As time went on, the observance  became known as “Memorial Day;” in 1971, Congress declared it an official holiday. Although Memorial Day is a somber holiday, it is often celebrated with parades, picnics, and community gatherings.


National Moment of Remembrance

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December, 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance.

The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states, “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

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How You Can Take Part

  • Bring the decoration tradition home and display the red, white, and blue stars and stripes at your home.
  • Visit cemeteries and place flowers and flags on the graves of fallen heroes.
  • If you have a flagpole, consider joining in the tradition of flying the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
  • Although the holiday is to remember the fallen, take a moment to thank a veteran or active-duty soldier.
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