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Honouring Memorial Day : A Time to Reflect and Remember

In the United States, an important day known as Memorial Day is honoured every year on the last Monday in May. While not everyone in the world may be familiar with this solemn occasion, its significance is deeply resonated by the Americans. Memorial Day is a time when the country comes together to remember the valiant men and women who gave their lives while serving in the American military. It is a time for remembering, reflecting, and expressing gratitude for their unrelenting commitment to defending the principles and liberties that the American people hold dear.

Historical Background : 
The Civil War, one of the most important conflicts in American history, was the setting for Memorial Day’s beginnings. After the war’s end in 1865, the United States was left to deal with a huge death toll and a highly divided country. Communities all around the nation looked for ways to  pay tribute to the warriors who died while defending their different causes in the face of this destruction. 
In Charleston, South Carolina, the first event that may be compared to Memorial Day was officially documented. In 1865, white locals and freed African Americans gathered to remember and bury Union troops who had been interred in a makeshift mass grave. They cleaned, maintained and landscaped the graveyard to create what is now called Hampton Park. This act of respect and recollection laid the groundwork for the future custom of remembering deceased warriors.
Communities started having their own memorial services to honour the fallen soldiers, which gave rise to the idea of Decoration Day. People and groups came together as part of this grassroots campaign to adorn the graves of dead troops with flowers, flags, and other tokens of remembrance. 
In 1882, the phrase “Memorial Day” was first used, and over the ensuing decades, it progressively rose in popularity. Memorial Day wasn’t declared a federal holiday in the United States until 1971, assuring that it is always observed on the final Monday in May.
Memorial Day has changed over time to honour all Americans who have sacrificed their lives for their country as well as the Civil War troops who lost their lives. It evolved into a day of commemoration for those who gave their lives in later wars, such as World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Memorial Day versus Veteran Day 
Veterans Day and Memorial Day are significant American holidays that both honour the armed forces and those who have served, so it’s crucial to understand the differences between the two. Memorial Day is a sombre day set aside to remember the dead soldiers who gave their lives protecting the country. It emphasises remembering and honouring these heroes. Veterans Day, on the other hand, honours the contributions of all military veterans, living and dead. It is a day to show respect and gratitude for their dedication and efforts. Veterans Day honours all veterans, as opposed to Memorial Day, which is specifically dedicated to remembering deceased warriors. These significant occasions offer a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the military’s sacrifices to defending the nation’s freedoms and values.
What to do on Memorial Day?
Memorial Day offers the chance to participate in a variety of events that acknowledge the sacrifices made by dead military members while spending time with loved ones. Attending memorial ceremonies or paying homage to the courageous people who gave their lives in service by visiting graves is a common ritual. Many localities hold parades that feature marching bands and military floats. A joyful ambiance is produced by the frequent gatherings of families for picnics and barbecues. Additionally, one can show gratitude and give back to the military community by engaging in volunteer work or lending support to veterans’ organisations. Participating in these activities promotes a feeling of solidarity and gratitude for the sacrifices made on behalf of the country.
Conclusion : 
Let’s keep the spirit of appreciation and memory with us as Memorial Day comes to an end. The sacrifices made by our departed soldiers strike a deep chord within our hearts and serve as a constant reminder to respect and defend the liberties they fought for. May this day serve as a reminder to us to keep the values that make our country great, promote togetherness, and assist our military community in order to honour their legacy. Even beyond Memorial Day, the deep influence of their sacrifice will continue to direct and inspire us as we work to build a better future. 
Author: Shruti Gala (Intern)

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