Memorial Day will be observed on Monday, May 25, 2020. It is a Federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May, and commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.
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.
2019 Memorial Day Schedule of Major Events
Find a Memorial Day ceremony near you, 120+ VA National Cemetery events across the country
- Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.
- Flags In – Thursday, May 23, 1:00 p.m.
- National Memorial Day Observance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Monday, May 27, 11:00 a.m.
- Air Force Memorial – TBD, Washington D.C.
- Fleet Week – Memorial Events New York City, NY.
- Parade of Ships – Wednesday, May 22
- 10th Annual Veterans Appreciation Day & Memorial Tribute Event – Sunday, May 26, 11 a.m.
- Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance – Monday, May 27, 10:00 a.m.
- Intrepid Memorial Day Commemoration – Monday, May 27, 11:00 a.m.
- For a detailed schedule of events, parades, and concerts visit Fleet Week New York.
- 152nd Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade & Ceremonies – Memorial Day, May 27, 2:00 p.m. ET, Gettysburg, PA.
- National Memorial Day Concert – Sunday, May 26, 8 p.m. ET, West Lawn of U.S. Capitol.
- National Memorial Day Parade – Memorial Day, May 27, 2 p.m., Washington D.C.
- Navy Memorial – TBD, Washington D.C.
- Rolling Thunder Ceremony – Saturday, May 25, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m., Washington D.C.
- First Reserve Assn. Ceremony – TBD
- NDW Wreath Laying Ceremony – Monday, May 27, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Washington D.C.
- President Lincoln’s Cottage – Monday, May 27, 2019, 10 am., Washington D.C.
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Monday, May 27, 2019, 1 p.m., Washington D.C.
- World War II Memorial – Monday, May 27, 2019, 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 History
Memorial Day began sometime after the Civil War with both 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), a 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.
By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held throughout the country on May 30. 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 meant for remembering and honoring military personnel who died 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 have honorably served in the military – in wartime or peacetime.
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
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