Here's What to Know Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend in 2023
We're not sure what we're excited for more: Memorial Day or the start of the summer!
Eh, who are we kidding—they're basically synonymous with each other! Either way, we're so ready to display our American flags, put up our patriotic decorations, and attend all the summer cookouts filled with the best Memorial Day recipes! (We'll be doing this while wearing our cutest summer attire, might we add!) And we can't forget about the cute photo-ops that will come with the holiday, which obviously gives us an excuse to use these creative 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.
So, 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 is Memorial Day in 2023? And more importantly, what's the backstory behind this very significant holiday and its official flower, the Memorial Day red poppy? Also, 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 2023?
Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 29, 2023. Yes, this makes it a long weekend! (Possibly *the* long weekend of all long weekends! 🙌) For reference, that means you can officially begin your Memorial Day weekend activities starting Saturday, May 27!
Is Memorial Day always the last Monday in May?
You bet! It's one of those holidays that doesn't have a specific calendar date, but instead falls on the last Monday in May every year. That means that next year, the holiday will fall on Monday, May 27, 2024. So if you didn't know before, now you do!
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.
Is everyone off on Memorial Day?
Good question! According to the Library of Congress: 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). But it took time to get there. 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." 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!
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