Honoring Our Heroes During Memorial Day and All Year-Round
While Memorial Day is a popular time for outdoor gatherings, barbecues, and summer activities, we should never neglect the true meaning of the holiday—honoring the memory of the fallen military personnel who dedicated their lives to our freedom. While we can never repay the debt we owe to these selfless heroes, we should take the time to express our gratitude as much as possible.
Keep reading to learn more about the history of Memorial Day, how you can honor these fallen Veterans, and events you can attend if you live in or around St. Louis.
A Brief History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance in the United States observed on the last Monday of May each year. Initially observed as Decoration Day on May 30, 1868, its purpose was to honor those who died fighting for the Union in the Civil War.
After World War II, Memorial Day was extended to include all those who had given their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Since then, it has become an important part of American culture.
Traditionally, people gather at memorials, war monuments, and cemeteries to honor those who have served and died for our country. Flags are placed at gravesites, and many people observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m., the traditional time for the national moment of remembrance. There are often parades and ceremonies in towns and cities nationwide, with speeches, songs, and other tributes.
In addition to attending memorials and events, many people wear something red, white, or blue on Memorial Day as a sign of respect and honor. Many even fly the flag at half-staff until noon to show their reverence.
Do you understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day? Read our blog to learn more.
If you would like to honor our fallen Veterans, consider partaking in the following activities.
1. Visit Your Local Veterans Cemetery
A total of 141 national cemeteries exist throughout the U.S. and are found in 40 states along with 33 soldiers’ lots. Cemeteries like Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, MO and Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA often keep up the tradition of decorating the graves of individual Veterans and adjusting their hours for more public visits.
Following traditional guidelines, most people display the flag only from sunrise to sunset, and on Memorial Day, it is flown at half-mast until noon. Additionally, many elect to fly the POW/MIA flag to also honor prisoners of war and personnel that are missing in action.
For a complete list of guidelines on flying the flag, visit here.
3. Join the National Moment of Remembrance
The National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that requests that every American—regardless of where they are at 3 p.m.—take a minute to pause in reverence of the U.S. citizens who have died while in military service. While this time of silence was first practiced in May 2000, Congress put it into law in December 2000.
4. Watch the National Memorial Day Parade
Every year, the National Memorial Day Parade occurs in Washington, D.C. For three hours, the parade passes alongside the National Mall on Constitution Avenue. While the festivities opened back up to the public in 2022, this event is aired on television for families nationwide on all major broadcast networks.
5. Educate Yourself on Gold Star Family Members
“Gold Star Family” is a designated title reserved for spouses, children, siblings, or other family members whose loved one died while in the line of duty. These individuals are a vital part of our nation’s community and serve as a reminder of our nation’s history and heritage.
To honor their family member’s ultimate sacrifice and their family’s loss, grief, and continued healing, the military issues Gold Star Lapel pins or Next of Kin Deceased Personnel Lapel pins to these members. Learn more about the origin of the Gold Star Family Designation here.
Memorial Day Weekend Events in St. Louis
If you reside in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, consider attending these Memorial Day events:
Memorial Day Observance – Soldiers Memorial Military Museum Monday, May 29, 2023 @ 10 a.m.
In 1979, the names of 214 St. Louisans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War were engraved in the Court of Honor at Soldiers Memorial in Downtown St. Louis. Since then, an additional 254 St. Louis Veterans who met this same fate have been identified. Join the Missouri Historical Society on this date for the addition of these 254 heroes.
2023 Memorial Day 1M 5K 10K 13.1 26.2 Virtual Run Monday, May 29, 2023 – June 30, 2023
The Moon Joggers Club is hosting its third annual Memorial Day virtual run or walk to celebrate the holiday and all our fallen heroes. Participants choose which distance they want to complete, and at least 15% of each registration goes to Operation Gratitude. This nonprofit organization provides care packages to deployed troops, military families, recruit graduates, Veterans, wounded heroes, and more.
Memorial Day Parade Monday, May 29, 2023 @ 9 a.m.
To coincide with the National Memorial Day Parade, the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Memorial Day Parade in Downtown St. Louis.
At AVCC, We Honor Veterans Everyday
American Veterans Care Connection is proud to support those who have given everything to protect our country. For us, every day is a time to honor the memory of the fallen and celebrate the Veterans who are still with us. That’s why we specialize in connecting aging Veterans with the right health care services to stay in their homes and maintain the quality of life they deserve.
We understand the hassle of locating adequate home care service. With a caring team like ours, Veterans can receive all the benefits they’re entitled to.