Honoring Our Heroes: Memorial Day Prayers and Reflections

The last Monday of May marks the Memorial Day in the USA. Paying respects and honoring the sacrifice of thousands of US soldiers during the battles, this day not only brings feelings of pride and gratitude to the forefront but also allows the entire nation to remember the lives that became martyrs.

History of Memorial Day

The origin of Memorial Day can be traced back to the late 19th century when family members of the US marshals and soldiers visited their graves and decorated the stones with flowers and wreaths. Initially, it came to be known as the Decoration Day and was observed to commemorate the sacrifice of the soldiers who participated in the American Civil War only. However, it created a lot of controversies later on, especially during World War I where hundreds of US military personnel fought bravely at the forefront and sacrificed their lives without any hesitation.

Since then, the day has been renamed as Memorial Day and is now observed to extend respects and gratitude to every US personnel who lost their lives in all American wars, including The Vietnam War, World War I and II, The Korean War, and so on. Initially, it was celebrated on May 30 as selected by none other than General Logan. However, later in 1968, Congress passed a bill and decided to observe Memorial Day on the last Monday of May to provide a three-day long holiday to the federal professionals.

Memorial Day traditions and rituals

Different sizes of parades are held in almost all cities and towns across the country, involving both armed professionals and veteran soldiers. Amongst these, Washington DC, New York, and Chicago are known to arrange and execute the largest public parades during Memorial Day. Apart from this, people from all over the country visit the graveyards to pay their respects to their beloved by placing flower bouquets and wreaths on the gravestones. In many cemeteries, you will also find people hosting the American flag on the gravestones in dedication to the nationalism and patriotism displayed by the martyred US soldiers

Memorial Day: Significance

Memorial Day is observed to pay respects and remember the sacrifice of thousands of US military personnel in different wars fought since the American Civil War. 

Interesting facts about Memorial Day

  •  General John A. Logan was the first person to publicly celebrate Decoration Day on May 30 as the beginning of the blossoming season or summer.

  • One of the major cemeteries where Memorial Day is celebrated with great zeal and vigor is the Arlington National Cemetery. Its size is so colossal that 427 football fields can fit into the complex. That’s why it houses over 40,000 burial gravestones of the US military personnel.

  • The famous World War I poem, “In Flanders Field” acted as the inspiration of laying silk poppies on the gravestones of the martyred US military people


Memorial Day is a civic celebration where every single person from all communities is involved. It brings together the entire US nation as people portray their gratitude towards the sacrifice of hundreds of US military personnel. So, commemorating the day is observed as a socio-civic responsibility of the citizens of the United States of America.

Honoring Our Heroes: Memorial Day Prayers and Reflections
Matthew J. Merhaut 27 May, 2024
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