When Is Memorial Day? Here's What to Know Ahead of the Holiday

When Is Memorial Day? Here's What to Know Ahead of the Holiday

It's time to dust off the grill and put up some patriotic decorations—it's nearly Memorial Day! And with the unofficial start of summer comes with all the hallmarks of the season: cookouts filled with the best Memorial Day recipes, backyard games with friends and family, plus plenty of pool parties.

But Memorial Day isn't just any old day off work. Beyond the barbecue and beach trips lies a day of profound significance as the federal holiday marks a thoughtful day of observance, centered on remembering and thanking the millions of Americans in uniform who gave their lives for this country.

In order to properly pause, reflect, and pay your respects to the soldiers to whom we owe our many freedoms, you'll have to know: When is Memorial Day in 2024? And more importantly, what's the backstory behind this very significant holiday and when did it actually become an official holiday in the United States?

Ahead, you'll find answers to these questions, including the exact date for this year's commemoration, so you can plan your patriotic activities accordingly.

when is memorial day
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When is Memorial Day in 2024?

Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 27, 2024. 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 25.

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 26, 2025. 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.

when is memorial day
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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 about the holiday's official flower, the Memorial Day red poppy, and how to honor our country by properly displaying the American flag.

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