May 29th, 2017

Honor Our Fallen Warriors on this Memorial Day

Arlington Cemetery Old Guard Flags Graves
Flags placed in Arlington National Cemetery by members of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, the “Old Guard”.

Memorial Day 2010

Today, Memorial Day, Americans will honor the sacrifices of military men and women who paid the ultimate price in their service to our nation. More than 1.2 million American men and women have died in military service during wartime.

memorial day 2017 battle death number statistics
Source: Prospect.org project based on U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs data.

“The fallen warriors we honor on Memorial Day cherished liberty and freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life,” said past Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We owe them eternal gratitude and we must pass those sentiments on to future generations.”

Memorial day

What Is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.

On Memorial Day, the United States flag is traditionally raised to the top of the staff, then solemnly lowered to half-staff position until noon, when it is raised again to full-staff for the rest of the day. The half-staff position is to remember the more than 1.2 million men and women who have given their lives for this country.

Six Things Every American Should Know About Memorial Day.

Memorial Day
Flags and flower leis adorn each grave in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in observance of Memorial Day, 1991. (U.S. Navy photo by OS2 John Bouvia, released).

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Memorial Day Decoration Day

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May 28th, 2012

Memorial Day Remembrances Held Across the Nation

Today, Memorial Day, Americans will honor the sacrifices of military men and women who paid the ultimate price in their service to our nation. More than one million American men and women have died in military service during wartime, including more than 655,000 battle deaths. Observances this Monday, May 30th, will range from parades to memorial ceremonies and organized moments of silence. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend organized activities at national cemeteries.

CLICK to View Memorial Day Slide Show

“The fallen warriors we honor on Memorial Day cherished liberty and freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We owe them eternal gratitude and we must pass those sentiments on to future generations.” Sec. Shinseki will deliver the keynote address at a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Richardson (AK) National Cemetery.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue a tradition of hosting numerous ceremonies at its national cemeteries and other facilities nationwide. President Obama will speak at Arlington National Cemetery. For the schedule of other Memorial Day weekend programs at VA national cemeteries, visit www.cem.va.gov.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day when the tradition of decorating Civil War graves began in 1866. This day of remembrance still brings loved ones to the graves of the deceased, often with flowers as grave decorations. To honor veterans buried in national cemeteries, Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) staff and volunteers typically place small individual American flags on each grave. Alternatively, “avenues of flags”, flanking both sides of the cemetery entrance, are displayed. (These may include burial flags awarded to the survivors of veterans interned in the cemetery). The VA maintains more than three million gravesites at its 131 national cemeteries. In 2010, more than 111,800 burials took place in national cemeteries.

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