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Items left at the Vietnam Veterans memorial including notes, flowers and a pair of boots.
Memorial Day, Vietnam Memorial, Washington, D.C. Carol Highsmith, 2006

Exploring Memorial Day Traditions with Primary Sources

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The last Monday in May provides an opportunity for the citizens of the United States to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while wearing the uniform of one of our branches of the military. If you are looking for a way to study this holiday using Library of Congress primary sources here are a few suggestions.

Poster showing solders from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War I marching with an American Flag
Honor the brave Memorial Day, May 30, 1917.

Memorials: Ways We Remember and Honor Encourage students to explore how we honor those who have lost their lives while serving in the military. If you are in Washington, D.C. keep an eye and and ear out for Rolling Thunder. Learn more about this unique way that veterans celebrate their colleagues.

The World War II Memorial is twenty years old this year. Reflect on this impressive memorial that honors those who fought in this war.

Another place that will see lots of visitors is Arlington National Cemetery. Learn more about those hallowed grounds.

Did you know that there is a National Native American Veterans Memorial? Posts from the American Folklife Center and the Law Library of Congress explore the creation of this special memorial.

Learn how newspapers documented Memorial Day by exploring the Memorial Day Guide from Chronicling America.

One way that students can celebrate Memorial Day is by documenting those who have served. Learn more about the Veterans History Project and projects in which classes in Ohio and Illinois interviewed veterans. Students can also do genealogical research on veterans in the family.

How will you encourage students to commemorate Memorial Day?

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