It's time to fire up the grills, pull out your flags, and get your sunscreen on because Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner! Chances are all of these festive markers have you looking forward to the holiday. After all, the long weekend typically marks the start of summer cookouts, and offers a chance to relax and kick back at the beach with friends and family. That's not to mention all of the prime opportunities for cute Memorial Day Instagram captions!)
Still, Memorial Day weekend is about so much more than grilling recipes, burgers, and ice cream. That Monday marks a thoughtful day of observance, centered on remembering and thanking the millions of Americans in uniform who gave their lives for this country. Memorial Day's meaning is truly about those heroic women and men, and the remarkable sacrifices they made.
Still, in order to properly pause, reflect, and pay your respects to the soldiers to whom we owe our many freedoms, you'll have to first know when to do so. When is Memorial Day in 2022? And more importantly, what's the backstory behind this very significant holiday and its official flower, the Memorial Day red poppy? When did it become an official holiday in the United States?
Ahead, you'll find answers to all of these questions, including the exact date for this year's celebration.
When is Memorial Day in 2022?
This year, Memorial Day is on Monday, May 30, 2022. This means that Memorial Day weekend—the three-day span that encompasses Memorial Day—will take place from Saturday, May 28 through that Monday, May 30.
Is Memorial Day always the last Monday in May?
Yes! So, if you're feeling guilty for not having known the date before reading this article, don't be: Though the holiday is always held on the last Monday in May, the calendar date changes each year.
What is the history of Memorial Day?
Memorial Day officially became a federal holiday in 1971, but it had previously been observed in an unofficial capacity for quite some time. A similarly thoughtful, commemorative day reportedly took place all the way back on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. The History Channel reports that after the Civil War ended and Confederate soldiers left Charleston, a group of freed slaves gathered to bury and honor the bodies of Union soldiers via a small parade. And in 1868, Union General John A. Logan suggested that May 30 should be the first annual day dedicated to the memory of all soldiers who fell during the Civil War.
But the commemoration of such "memorial days" remained unofficial for several more decades. According to the Library of Congress, it wasn't until 1950 that Congress would agree upon a resolution asking the president to "issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe Memorial Day, by praying, each in accordance with his religious faith, for permanent peace." Nearly 20 years later in 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was finally passed, which both declared that Memorial Day would take place on the last Monday in May and required that federal employees be granted a day off (which is why it's a good idea to check open stores on Memorial Day before you head into town). In 1971, Memorial Day officially became a federal holiday intended to observe and honor the people who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military. And if you're interested to learn more, read these historical Memorial Day quotes and share them with everyone—it'll remind them why we observe it!