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Pastiche Family Portal HomeThe History of Decoration Day - Memorial Day - in the USA

The Memorial Day holiday Americans celebrate in late May each year has not always been a day to kick off the summer vacation season. The holiday was originally observed on May 30 instead of the last Monday in May. Learn the true meaning of Memorial Day and its history dating back to the Civil War.

Site Index Features : US Patriotic Holidays : Memorial Day - Decoration Day

Peace Poppies Silver Necklace
Peace Poppies Silver Necklace
by imagefactory


red poppieclip artIn Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

US Memorial Day

by Lee Hansen - Pastiche Family Portal

Patriotic Printables - stickers, iron ons, posters

Memorial Day is a US holiday of reverence and respect for those who served the nation in military service. The holiday was formerly known as Decoration Day, and observed on May 30th every year.

The original name came from the practice of decorating the graves of veterans who died during battles of the Civil War. The observance later expanded to commemorate fallen soldiers from all past or current conflicts, and then later still to include all US service veterans.

Memorial Day is a day marked by solemn military and government observances and local parades through the nation; many families also observe the day as one of personal tribute and reflection by decorating the graves of family members, both veterans and non-veterans.

In recent years commercial enterprises have promoted the holiday as a 3-day kickoff to summer and family activities. As a result, the true meaning and history become slightly obscured in times of peace. Nevertheless, in Washington DC on Memorial Day the president or vice president visits Arlington National Cemetery and lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Military honor guards fire their rifles in salute, speakers help the public remember the real meaning for Memorial Day, and parades featuring representatives of the armed forces, veterans organizations and veterans take place in communities large and small. Most communities conduct cemetery ceremonies and place flags and/or flowers on the graves of veterans and hold public assemblies to honor local veterans who served in all campaigns and service branches.

Frederick Douglass speech Memorial Day 1871 Arlington CemeteryThe official date of celebration for Memorial Day changed in 1971 to the third Monday in May by an act of Congress, to establish a long weekend for the holiday observance. A few states in the US still observe May 30 as Memorial Day in addition to the federal holiday; some southern states also observe a different day as a Confederate war dead holiday. Other nations observe days of reverence and honor for their war and service veterans, including Australia, Canada and most European countries.

The red poppy is the traditional flower to honor and commemorate veterans in North America, Europe and Australia. The red poppy was made famous by a poem- In Flanders Fields - written during World War I by Canadian army surgeon Lt. Col. John McCrae. On Memorial Day, as on Veterans Day, many veterans and patriots wear a red lapel poppy to honor fallen soldier buddies.

Non-veterans also wear the Buddy Poppy to honor those who died protecting our freedom. Since 1924, disabled veterans - who receive compensation for their work - have assembled Buddy Poppies in hospitals and "Poppy shops." The VFW and American Legion Auxiliary distribute the official Buddy Poppies freely to the public in time for Memorial Day ceremonies, accepting only contributions for the poppies. All contributions received in exchange for Buddy Poppies go directly to fund assistance programs for needy or disabled veterans and to the immediate family survivors of fallen veterans.

Memorial Day / Buddy Poppy Links

Veterans Affairs Office (USA)

Veterans Affairs (Canada)

Meaning of Memorial Day

Images of Memorial Day

Memorial Day History (US Embassy)

remembrance poppy flower picture

Australian War Memorial

US Flag Etiquette

VFW Buddy Poppy

Canada Poppy Coin

Poppy History - Great War Society

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