Many celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend with barbecues and family get-togethers, but Memorial Day is so much more than a chance to kick off the summer months.
At its heart, Memorial Day is a day to solemnly honor all men and women who have died in U.S. military service.
Check the meaning of Memorial Day, as well as some interesting Memorial Day facts and Memorial Day history.
When is Memorial Day 2021?
This year, Memorial Day falls on May 31, 2021. Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May.
|2021||Monday, May 31|
|2022||Monday, May 30|
|2023||Monday, May 29|
|2024||Monday, May 27|
Memorial Day Meaning and Memorial Day History
Memorial Day commemorates all men and women who have died in U.S. military service. It’s not to be confused with Veterans Day, which celebrates the service of U.S. military veterans, or with Armed Forces Day, which honors men and women currently in service.
Memorial Day began a few years after the Civil War, in 1868. An organization of Union veterans established the holiday, then known as Decoration Day, as a time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. From then until the present day, the solemn holiday has been formally observed at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
Memorial Day Weekend 2021: Quotes to honour all of our fallen soldiers
- “Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.” – Barack Obama
- “There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.” – Nick Lampson
- “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”- Harry S. Truman
- “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” – Maya Angelou
- “Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” – G.K. Chesterton
- “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller
- “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” – Lee Greenwood
- “And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.” – Ronald Reagan
- “As we set today aside to honor and thank our veterans, let us be mindful that we should do this every day of the year and not just one.” – Beth Pennington
- “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
- “This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home. This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.” – Tamra Bolton
- “May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn’t free.” – Sgt. Major Bill Paxton
- “Never was so much owed by so many few.” – Winston Churchill
- “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” – Bob Riley
- “The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment.” – Judd Gregg
- “America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels.” – Claudia Pemberton
- “We must dare to be great, and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
- “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” – Benjamin Disraeli
- “Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what. you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” – Douglas MacArthur