• May 2016 •

Create a Program for a Memorial Day Celebration

On the last Monday of May, Americans observe Memorial Day, a federal holiday that honors the men and women who died while in service to the country. Originally called Decoration Day, this day of remembrance began at the end of the Civil War when communities set aside a day to decorate the graves of those who had died during the war. Memorial Day was first officially observed at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. After World War I, the holiday changed from honoring just those who died in the Civil War to paying tribute to Americans who died in any war. In 2000, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed. This act asks that at 3 P.M. on Memorial Day, Americans pause for a minute to demonstrate their respect for the servicemen and servicewomen who have died.

Imagine you are in charge of planning your school's observation of Memorial Day. How would you design the event? Using search engines, find suggestions about how to celebrate Memorial Day and honor fallen soldiers. Then, create a program of events that would accompany a half-hour assembly. Your program should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • A brief history of the creation of Memorial Day
  • A special guest—possibly a war veteran
  • Participation in the "National Moment of Remembrance"

Once you have completed your program, share it with your classmates. Ask your teacher if you could hold a celebration in your classroom or with the entire school, using the program you have outlined.