Memorial Day, a tribute to fallen heroes serving their country in wars

Memorial Day, a tribute to fallen heroes serving their country in wars
Memorial Day, a tribute to fallen heroes serving their country in wars

Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865), today it honors all those who have died in a war in the service of the United States.

At first it was called Decoration Day, due to the tradition of decorating graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War with flowers, wreaths and flags.

The first state to officially commemorate Memorial Day was New York in 1873; 17 years later, every state in the country had adopted the day.

But it was not until 1971 that an act of the US Congress decreed the last Monday in May as a federal day of remembrance.

The traditional parade

To commemorate this day, different activities are carried out such as the traditional National Memorial Day Parade that will take place along Constitution Avenue in Washington DC this Monday afternoon, and will be broadcast on national television through the ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW networks.

The event, which will be inaugurated with musical performances prior to the parade, recreates historical events with the participation of veterans and military personnel on active duty. Dozens of veterans, family members, visitors and survivors join these events annually in memory of those who died in war.

Additionally, veterans are honored with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, during which a small US flag is placed on each grave. The president or vice president traditionally gives a speech and lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Arlington National Cemetery is the largest military cemetery in the country, where thousands of veterans and members of their immediate families rest.

On this day, which honors the service of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in defense of the country, the United States flag is also placed at half-mast, from dawn to noon. Likewise, it is customary to keep a minute of silence to remember the fallen.

National holiday

During this long Memorial Day weekend, government offices, banks, post offices, libraries, schools and some private sector businesses remain closed.

While some retail stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants remain open and offer great discounts and deals.

During this long weekend that coincides with the official start of summer, Americans take advantage of the opportunity to travel and visit the country’s beaches and parks, with Florida being one of the main destinations.

In 2024, it was estimated that approximately 43.8 million people traveled throughout the national territory between Thursday and Monday.

The holiday has its origins in the American Civil War, in which more than 600,000 service members (both Union and Confederate) died between 1861 and 1865.

Since its inception in 1868, and for more than a century, this tribute was celebrated on May 30, after Commander in Chief, John A. Logan, of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed the day to pay tribute to the Union soldiers who fell during the conflict.



FOUNTAIN: With information from The Voice of America, Gestión and La Nación

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