Memorial Day will be observed on Monday May 30, 2016. It is a Federal holiday and it is observed on the last Monday in May and commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.
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Pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service by observing a national moment of remembrance with a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.
2016 Memorial Day Schedule of Major Events
- Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.
- Flags in – Monday, May 30, 2016
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Monday, May 30, 2016, 11 a.m.
- Air Force Memorial – Monday, May 30, 2016, 9 a.m., Washington D.C.
- Fleet Week – Memorial Events TBD, New York City, NY
- Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade & Ceremonies – Monday, May 30, 2016, 2 p.m., Gettysburg, PA
- National Memorial Day Concert – TBD
- National Memorial Day Parade – Monday, May 30, 2016, beginning at 2 p.m., Washington D.C.
- Navy Memorial – TBD, Washington D.C.
- President Lincoln’s Cottage – Monday, May 30, 2016, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Washington D.C.
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Monday, May 30, 2016, 1 p.m., Washington D.C.
- World War II Memorial – Monday, May 30, 2016, 9 a.m., Washington D.C.
Memorial Day Activities & Events to Honor Those Who Died
- Visit cemeteries and memorials
- Attend Memorial Day ceremonies
- Volunteer to place an American Flag on each grave in national cemeteries
- Observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time
- Attend a Memorial Day parade, festival, fair or concert such as the National Memorial Day Concert
- Run for charity on Memorial Day weekend
- Volunteer to support events such as the National Memorial Day Parade
- Donate to veterans and military support groups
Memorial Day began sometime after the Civil War with formal and informal ceremonies at graves and ceremonies for the soldiers who had fallen in battle. Many places claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866 including Waterloo, New York and both Macon and Columbus, Georgia. On May 5, 1868 the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an Union veterans organization, established Decoration Day, May 30, as a time for the nation to decorate the dead with flowers. Arlington National Cemetery held the first large observance later that year.
Memorial Day ceremonies were being held throughout the country on May 30 by the end of the 19th century. Over time the Army and Navy adopted policies for proper observances and state legislatures passed proclamations designating the day. After World War I the day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day Versus Veterans Day
Memorial Day is for remembering and honoring military personnel who dies in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of a wound sustained in battle.
Veterans Day is intended to thank all those who honorably served in the military – in war time or peace time.
Quick Memorial Day Fact
The Poem “Bivouac of the Dead” is often recited on Memorial Day and inscribed on iron tablets throughout many of the country’s national cemeteries including the original entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The poem was written by Theodore O’Hara to honor his fellow soldiers from Kentucky who died in the Mexican-American War.
Bivouac (/ˈbivo͞oˌak/) – A temporary camp without tents or cover.
Memorial Day Quotes
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — George S. Patton
We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them. – Francis Amasa Walker
The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. – Benjamin Disraeli
“As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation’s wars.” – John M. McHugh