Flying the American flag isn’t the only Memorial Day tradition to remember, but it is the most enduring. Over recent decades, Memorial Day weekend has become known as the ‘unofficial start of summer” even though it falls on the last Monday in May. It is the opening day for swim clubs, the day when it becomes acceptable to carry a white purse, and official deadline for buying a new swimsuit. But Memorial Day got its start in 1866 as Decoration Day.
Rather than a day to grill hamburgers or break in a new pair of flip flops at the beach, Decoration Day was originated as a solemn day of remembrance for the fallen soldiers who served their country with honor. On the first official observance of the holiday in 1868, flowers were placed on the graves of all Confederate and Union soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
While most families will still proudly display the American flag on Memorial Day, their patriotic observance ends there. However, there are still many official observances held across the country. In Washington, the President or Vice President will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and many similar ceremonies will occur at military memorials throughout the country.
If you plan to fly the American flag on your front lawn this Memorial Day, consider honoring our fallen soldiers by doing it correctly. The flag is to be raised fully, and then lowered to half-staff immediately, where it will remain until noontime. Then at noon it should be raised once more to a full position where it will stay until sundown, when it should be lowered and removed. Remember, at no time should the American flag ever touch the ground, nor should it be flown in inclement weather. If you do not have an American Flag, view our inventory.