Teacher Guide To Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is held on the last Monday of May every year. This holiday is a day of remembrance of those Americans who serve in the military and a way of honoring all the men, women and their families who were in the military and died while serving their country. The military includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard, Coast Guard and some civilian groups who work for the military. Soldiers who have retired from the military use this holiday to remember their fellow servicemen and women who died during wars, or while working to protect others.
Before Memorial Day, Americans celebrated a different holiday called Decoration Day that was very similar to the holiday we have now as it served to recognize and remember American soldiers. In 1882, Decoration Day became Memorial Day but many people did not recognize the new name for the holiday. It was not until 1967 that Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday by the United States government, which means businesses, schools and government run buildings are closed in remembrance of the military and all that the people who volunteer their time for serving to protect civilians.
For Americans Memorial Day also signifies the start of the summer vacation, and many students are getting ready to get out of school for the summertime sometime around this holiday. During the day all of the military offices and buildings host speeches and memorial services to remember the soldiers who have died. National monuments host a moment of silence at 3 pm, local time, and volunteers place flags on graves of soldiers. Red poppy flowers are the national symbol for Memorial Day, and these flowers represent the sacrifice of these soldiers and are also placed on tombstones and given to families to honor their sacrifice.
The way Memorial Day is celebrated is by most Americans around the nation is by having picnics, barbeques and sports events, while enjoying the day with family and friends. Since 1911 the Indianapolis 500, a famous stock car race, has been held on every single Memorial Day holiday to honor this special day. As this holiday is a time of remembrance for soldiers, community memorials will often hold special vigils and events on Memorial Day to honor the local servicemen and women.
It is very important that all Americans recognize the sacrifices of the people who are serving or who died while in the military because those people chose to give their own life up to make sure the rest of the nation will be free. Freedom is the basic right of all Americans as well as every single person around the world, and the military works to make sure that everyone has this opportunity by protecting and helping them. Some people only think of wars and fighting when they think of the military, but armed forces spend most of their time making sure that different countries have enough food, water and shelter. Soldiers spend time in other countries visiting children who have lost families, as well as going to schools to teach others about peace and good will.
Related Teacher Resources That Are Worth A Look:
- Celebrating Memorial Day
- History Channel-Memorial Day
- Memorial Day Federal Holiday
- Memorial Day - A Look at its History
- Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice