Memorial Day Meaning

Celebrating Our Fallen Veterans

Honoring the Heroes that Served Our Country

Memorial Day honors the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. These courageous individuals have given everything they had to defend our freedoms and way of life.

Memorial Day reminds us of the high price of freedom and the debt of gratitude we owe to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a day to reflect on their sacrifice and to honor their memory with gratitude.

Honor Our Nation's Heroes

Patriotic Americans joining to honor veterans and celebrate Memorial Day.

Origins & History of Memorial Day

The origins of Memorial Day can be traced back to the aftermath of the American Civil War. As the conflict ended in 1865, people across the country began holding ceremonies to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the conflict. One of the earliest known ceremonies took place in Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1865, when a group of freed slaves gathered to commemorate fallen Union soldiers buried in a local racecourse.

The first national observance of Memorial Day, then known as Decoration Day, was declared by General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic on May 5, 1868. The day was designated as a time to decorate the graves of the fallen with flowers and to hold ceremonies to honor their sacrifice.

Over time, Memorial Day became an important national holiday, honoring all Americans who died while serving in the military. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Today, Memorial Day is marked by parades, speeches, and ceremonies at military cemeteries and other sites across the country. It serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have died in service to our country, and a time to reflect on the true cost of freedom.

1870 Decoration Day parade in St. Paul, Minnesota. Credit: 1870. Karl “Charles” Alfred Zimmermann. Source: MPR News

Did you Know?

Facts about Memorial Day

  • American flags are flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day and then raised to full-staff for the rest of the day as a symbol of the nation’s resilience and determination.
  • The National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress in 2000 as a way to encourage Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to remember and honor the sacrifices of those who died in service to the country.
  • The red poppy has become a symbol of Memorial Day. This tradition dates back to World War I when a poem called “In Flanders Fields” described red poppies growing on the graves of fallen soldiers.
  • Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is one of the most famous military cemeteries in the United States. It was established during the Civil War, and today it is the final resting place for more than 400,000 military veterans and their families.
  • Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, and it was first observed on May 30th, 1868. One hundred years later In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which made Memorial Day a federal holiday that always landed on the last Monday of May.

Arlington National Cemetery

Looking for more information about Memorial Day?

Download Memorial Day teaching resources
Celebrating Our Fallen Veterans

Tribute Wall

Who Are You Carrying?

The Tribute Wall is a place to honor & remember our fallen heroes. The foremost question at Carry The Load is, “Who Are You Carrying?

For many, honoring our fallen heroes is a way to give a personal tribute. We invite you to share a special person from your life that has made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Tribute Wall

What is the meaning of Memorial Day?

Americans honoring and celebrating our nation’s fallen veterans.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is a day that reminds us of the high price of freedom and the debt of gratitude we owe to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and its freedoms. This includes soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen who lost their lives in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions in which the United States has participated, from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

Memorial Day is a special occasion to reflect on the service and sacrifice of these brave men and women and to express our deep gratitude for their dedication and devotion to duty.

At Carry The Load we aim to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day in our month-long event, Memorial May. Everyone is invited to join the National Relay which travels over 20,000 miles covering all continental 48 states, ending with the Dallas Memorial March.

Join Us this Memorial May!

Our month-long event includes the National Relay, Community Events, and Dallas Memorial March events. We would love for you to join us!

Participate or Volunteer!