Have a Meaningful Memorial Day 2020

May 22, 2020

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. This year, Memorial Day occurs on Monday, May 25.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, but in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Should You Wish Someone a Happy Memorial Day?

Many find it inappropriate to wish someone a Happy Memorial Day. On Memorial Day, we remember those who died while serving our country. By contrast, Veterans Day is intended to honor the service of all people who have worn armed services uniforms.

So, what do you say on Memorial Day to someone who might be struggling: a widow, a veteran or anyone who’s been especially affected by a military member’s death?

Here are some ideas on what you can say instead. Try something like:

  • “Enjoy your weekend, but I want you to know that I will be remembering what this holiday is about.”
  • “Enjoy your weekend, and I will be thinking about those who are no longer with us.”
  • “I will be taking a moment this weekend to honor those that served our nation and are no longer with us.”
  • “I hope you’re having a meaningful day.”

Memorial Day Traditions

For many, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season. Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Friends and family often host and attend barbeques to enjoy this 3-day weekend.

Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem.

This year, celebrating Memorial Day will be unlike other years, due to social distancing expectations and many events and festivals canceled or postponed.

Have a meaningful Memorial Day and take a few minutes to honor the brave men and women who died while serving in the US military.