Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and was first observed on May 30, 1868, to honor the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. Over time, it became a day to honor all American military personnel who died in any war.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday and its observance was moved to the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend for Americans. However, some people still observe it on May 30 in remembrance of its original date. In addition to visiting cemeteries and memorials, many people also attend parades and ceremonies to honor and remember the fallen soldiers.

Memorial Day Traditions

It is also common for families and friends to gather for picnics, barbecues, and other outdoor activities during the long weekend, as Memorial Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial start of summer. Many businesses, including car dealerships and retailers, also offer sales and discounts during this time.

However, it is important to remember the true meaning and significance of Memorial Day and to take a moment to honor the sacrifices made by those who have served and died for our country.

It’s important to recognize the contributions and ideas of individuals like Mary Ann Williams who helped shape the observance of Memorial Day.

The fact that there were many local observances prior to the national declaration by Commander in Chief John A. Logan speaks to the significance of honoring those who have died in service to their country.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices made by military personnel and to pay tribute to their bravery and dedication.

The spread of official recognition of Memorial Day as a holiday among the states, beginning with New York in 1873 and eventually adopted by every Union state by 1890, shows the growing importance of the holiday in American culture.

The shift towards honoring all members of the U.S. military who fought and died in service during the World Wars further solidified Memorial Day as a day of remembrance and tribute.

The decision by Congress in 1971 to standardize the holiday as “Memorial Day” and change its observance to the last Monday in May allowed for greater uniformity in its celebration across the country.

Here are ten movies that are appropriate to watch on Memorial Day courtesy of Shemon and Sheppard.

  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)

    This war drama, directed by Steven Spielberg, follows a group of soldiers as they search for a missing soldier during World War II.

  • The Longest Day (1962)

    This epic war film, directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki, tells the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II.

  • Black Hawk Down (2001)

    Directed by Ridley Scott, this war film is based on the true story of the Battle of Mogadishu, where U.S. troops faced unexpected resistance in Somalia.

  • Platoon (1986)

    Directed by Oliver Stone, this war film is set during the Vietnam War and follows a young soldier’s experiences in the conflict.

  • We Were Soldiers (2002)

    Directed by Randall Wallace, this war film is based on the true story of the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War.

  • American Sniper (2014)

    Directed by Clint Eastwood, this biographical war drama is based on the life of Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper who served in Iraq.

  • Top Gun (1986)

    Directed by Tony Scott, this action film is set in the world of U.S. Navy fighter pilots and has become a cult classic over the years.

  • Glory (1989)

    Directed by Edward Zwick, this historical drama tells the story of the first all-black regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

  • Hamburger Hill (1987)

    Directed by John Irvin, this war film is set during the Vietnam War and follows a U.S. Army unit as they attempt to take a heavily fortified hill.

  • The Hurt Locker (2008)

    Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this war film follows an elite Army bomb squad as they carry out dangerous missions in Iraq.

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