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Memorial Day was born out of the horror of the Civil War, when more than 600,000 soldiers - Union and Confederate - fell in battle. Over the years it's become a day to honor all the men and women who have given their lives in the cause of freedom.
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STEPS
1) - Fly the American flag at half-staff. This includes from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day. Keep the American Flag higher than your state, county, or establishment flags. Traditionally, the American flag is the highest, the state flag is in the middle, and all others are beneath them.
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2) - Travel to Washington. Tour some of the city's many memorials to fallen heroes, and attend the always-poignant ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Ask for a tour where applicable. Make close speculations to the paintings and statues. These will show what our honorary soldier's lives were like and the looks of the Civil War.
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3) - Take in the National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. If you can't make it in person, tune into the PBS broadcast of the performance by the National Symphony Orchestra and a crew of special guest artists
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4) - Join in the observances at a military base or cemetery near you if you can't make it to Washington. Check your local paper, or call the closest military base, American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post to find out what's happening and when. Showing up for anything will illustrate to others and yourself that you are patriotic. Just like even a small donation can help a starving family; showing up to a small gathering will help on Memorial Day.
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5) - Remember those who fought and lived to tell about it: Take some flowers, books or cookies to a nearby veterans' hospital. If you can't afford them, simply make your own cards. It is from your heart to theirs and nothing can express your feelings greater than the heart itself.
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6) - Continue a classic tradition: Put flowers and flags on the graves of departed friends and family ' civilian as well as military. If you live far away from the final resting place of anyone you knew, decorate the grave of a stranger. Everyone has their own way of expressing their concerns and respect. Your tradition may mean more to you than visiting Washington or putting up the American flag.

7) - Have your annual beginning-of-summer fun, or spend the three-day weekend at your favorite getaway spot, but take a little time out from fun and games to reflect on the day's real meaning and the fact that freedom isn't free.

8) - Don't let the sadness of Memorial Day get to your head. Even though you know that soldiers died for our nation's freedom, you have to remember that they died so you could have freedom. They died for our well being and living your American life to the fullest will make their goal come true. After all you do have a three day non-work weekend to spend with friends and/or family to have a great time.
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Interesting Facts
The first national celebration of Decoration Day took place on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. After speeches by dignitaries, some 5,000 people, including Civil War veterans and children from the Soldiers and Sailors Orphan Home, walked through the cemetery reciting prayers, singing hymns and strewing flowers on the more than 20,000 graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.

In 1868 Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that there should be a day for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. May 30th became known as Decoration Day.There has been a lot of disputes concerning where the birthplace of Memorial Day is. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the birthplace of Memorial Day.




















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Tips
Many cities and towns lay claim to the origin of Memorial Day. One of them is Columbus, Mississippi, where many Union soldiers were laid to rest far from families who could care for their graves. Widows of Confederate soldiers, saddened by the neglected plots, gathered on April 25, 1866, to place flowers on the graves of their husbands' former enemies. Decoration Day, as it was then called, became an annual custom in Columbus and about two dozen other communities throughout the country.

Alongside with honoring the past soldiers, honor the current ones too. It doesn't matter what time you are defending your country as long as you do it.

Tell your kids and/or family members to honor the yearly tradition as well. If they develop a habit of honoring memorial day now, then they will most likely teach it to their children and Memorial Day will have more meaning to America.
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You May Also Be Interested In:
Memorial Day
Remembrance Days / Holidays in the United States / May Observances












Related Outside Links:
In Memory of Our Honored Dead, US Memorial Day
National Moment of Remembrance Home Page
National Memorial Day Museum website

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Sources & Citations
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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Observe Memorial Day Weekend. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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To ensure the sacrifices of Americas fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law The National Moment of Remembrance Act.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
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