“Home of the free, because of the brave.” – Unknown
First established as Decoration Day after the Civil War, the holiday was set aside for families and friends to visit and decorate the graves of troops lost in the conflict. The observance became known as "Memorial Day," when Congress declared it an official holiday in 1971 to fall annually on the last Monday in May.
Americans celebrate many of patriotic holidays throughout the year. This time of year we celebrate Memorial Day and it is a different holiday than Veterans Day. While Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a day set aside to celebrate all veterans, Memorial Day is a somber holiday dedicated to honor fallen military.
Here are some things you may not know about Memorial Day.
- In 1966, Congress declared Waterloo, N.Y. the official birthplace of Memorial Day
- As part of the National Moment of Remembrance Act, Americans are asked to pause on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time for one minute to honor those who died protecting America’s rights and freedoms.
- On Memorial Day, the U.S. flag should be displayed at half-staff from sunrise until noon, then raised to the top at full staff until sunset.
- Red poppies are to be worn the Friday before Memorial Day. The red poppy is a nationally recognized symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since World War I to honor those who served and died for our country in all wars. The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines.
- The American Legion sponsors a car at the Indy 500 which is held over Memorial Day weekend. This year Tony Kanaan will race the American Legion sponsored car to represent veterans.
- We also remember 400 volunteer nurses who died serving during the Spanish/American War.
- 400,000 U.S. women died who served with the armed forces during World War II, as many as 543 died in war-related incidents, including 16 from enemy fire and 38 brave Women’s Airforce Service Pilots who perished during the war.
2021 has a few events celebrating Memorial Day, including:
Annapolis Memorial Day Parade - Main Street and City Dock, Downtown Annapolis, 10am-11:30am
Join us for a very traditional Memorial Day celebration! Ceremony honoring those who have given their lives in service to our country with parade downtown. This ceremony is open to the public and all are welcome.
Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery
Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment participates, placing small American flags in front of more than 228,000 headstones and at the bottom of about 7,000 niche rows in the cemetery's Columbarium Courts and Niche Wall. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Sentinels (who are members of the Old Guard) place flags to honor the Unknowns.
39th Annual Memorial Day Event (May 31, 2021), Falls Church, VA
Memorial Day Ceremony (May 31, 11:00 a.m.)
This year, you're invited to watch the ceremony live and in-person at the Veterans' Memorial, located outside the Community Center. Pre-registration is required and all attendees will be asked to wear a mask.
Quantico Marine Corps Band Concert (May 31, 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.)
The City of Falls Church is excited to host the Quantico Marine Corps Band in Cherry Hill Park as part of this year's Memorial Day event. Advanced registration is required to attend the free concert.
The Rolling to Remember motorcycle rally from Arlington to Washington, DC, May 30th
7 AM Parking lot opens, rallying begins in Lot 8 of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
12 PM The 2021 “Rolling to Remember” Demonstration Run begins from RFK Stadium. There will not be a formal ceremony or gathering on the National Mall after the Rolling to Remember Demonstration Ride this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Memorial Day Concert – May 30, 2021. The concert will be taped and played on public TV at 8pm on Sunday.
National Memorial Day Parade– May 31, 2021 –The 2021 National Memorial Day Parade will be filmed for television only and will not be open to the public.
Sunshine & Margaritas: A Special Memorial Day Weekend Edition of Music on the Lawn, May 28, Onancock
“Let their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” – Daniel Webster