The last Monday in May is Memorial Day. Originally known in some parts of the country as Decoration Day, this day provides an opportunity to remember those members of the military who have died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.
Learn more about Memorial Day and how it has been commemorated using the following blog posts from the Library of Congress.
Remembering Our Honored Dead: Memorial Day Traditions
From Teaching with the Library of Congress, this post discusses the history of Memorial Day, some of the ways it was celebrated and provides teaching ideas to help students learn more about the holiday.
The Performing Arts Reading Room blog provides links to sheet music collections and suggestions on how to remember fallen soldiers in song.
Decoration Day to Memorial Day from In Custodia Legis
In Custodia Legis from the Law Library provides links to lovely images relating to Memorial Day while also providing detailed information on the history of the holiday and links to the federal laws that codify the holiday. Additional information is available in their Memorial Day post from 2011.
Memorial Day’s Rolling Thunder
Many of you may have heard about Rolling Thunder, in which veterans, primarily from the Vietnam War era, come to DC on their motorcycles to honor their fallen colleagues. This post from the Science and Technology Reading Room provides information about Rolling Thunder and it’s purpose. Another post of interest discusses how red poppies became a symbol of remembrance for Memorial Day.
From Decoration Day to Memorial Day
Picture This from the Prints and Photographs division discusses how Decoration Day became Memorial Day and how people marked the holiday with activities as varied as bicycle races to decorating graves with flowers and flags.
Memorial Day and Our Oldest Vets
As we continue to commemorate the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War I, we also highlight this post from the Library of Congress blog that documents the Veterans History Project and one of the oral history projects that collects the stories of some World War I veterans.
Want to learn more? Read Today in History’s Memorial Day presentation. The post includes links to other Memorial Day resources you might use with your students.
Visit all of the Library of Congress blogs and learn more about the collections and the people who work with them.
For more complete discussion of Memorial Day people can open Race and Union [“Decoration Days” chapter] by historian David Blight to see how the freed people of Charleston South Carolina observed the first Memorial Day on May 1st to honor Union dead from a local prisoner of war camp who were kept at a local horse racing track. His description of the events show how Memorial Day should be tied to sacrifice in order to make America a more perfect nation.