What Is Memorial Day and How to Celebrate

Man holding flag at memorial day ceremony

Memorial Day in 2022 takes place on Monday, May 30.

Though the long weekend that precedes Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer, there's a much larger significance to this day. This holiday is an opportunity to give thanks and reflect on the freedoms you enjoy.

Before packing your car (or wheelchair van) or lighting up the BBQ, take a second to learn about the holiday and why we celebrate it.

What Is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is only celebrated in the United States. It's celebrated every year on the last Monday of May and is intended to honor all men and women who gave their lives serving in the U.S. military.

Although Memorial Day was originally observed for the lives lost during the Civil War, it now incorporates all soldiers who died during both World Wars, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What is the Difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

Veterans Day is celebrated in November and honors everyone who has ever served in the U.S. military. What makes Memorial Day particularly important is that it's meant to honor those who died while in active service or as a result of injuries sustained in battle. It’s important to set aside time to honor them and reflect on this sacrifice.

Brief History and Facts About Memorial Day

The customs of Memorial Day date back to the years after the American Civil War. By the time it ended in the spring of 1865, the Civil War had claimed more American lives than any other conflict in U.S. history.

By the late 1860s, towns and cities across the country were holding springtime tributes at the graves of fallen soldiers from the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, the first Memorial Day was born from these tributes and was widely observed on May 30, 1868. In 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday. 

Memorial Day Traditions and How to Celebrate

Many Americans celebrate Memorial Day the same way it was originally celebrated: they visit cemeteries or memorials to show their respect to Veterans who have passed away by placing a flag or other tribute on their graves. It’s also a time to honor friends and family members who are deceased, oftentimes with flowers or wreaths placed on their graves.

Across the U.S., parades fill the streets to commemorate Memorial Day. The largest of these parades are in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

While a red poppy is generally associated with Veterans Day, some people choose to wear one on Memorial Day as well. These poppies are in remembrance of fallen soldiers, a tradition dating back to World War 1.

Memorial Day and BraunAbility

Memorial Day, for many Americans, marks the unofficial start to summer. But this holiday carries much greater significance. It honors all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and it's an important time to reflect on what that means.

BraunAbility is proud to know we serve veterans of all ages with our mobility products. Some of our earliest customers were injured soldiers returning from the Vietnam War, looking for ways to stay mobile and adjust to their post-war life. We’re proud to know our mobility solutions help these veterans throughout the year. It’s especially rewarding to think each Memorial Day we help many of them pay their respects to their brothers and sisters in arms who never returned home from their
service.

If you or your loved one needs help with your mobility, whether on Memorial Day or any day, we can help. Reach out to your nearest local dealer to ask about wheelchair van rentals or our various mobility products.

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