In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States and is observed annually on the last Monday of May.
Formerly called Decoration Day, it was originally established as the day for remembering American Civil War dead. The number of those of both sides was more than 600,000. The Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May, 1868, by General John Logan, who said: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet church yard in the land.” So, the 30th of May, was chosen then for the observation of the Day. The first state which officially recognized the holiday was New York in 1873. All of the northern states had done that by 1890. The South states honored their dead on separate days until after World War I, when Decoration Day was extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. After World War II it was renamed the Memorial Day. From 1971, the Memorial Day has been officially observed on the last Monday in May in order to use this federal holiday to create three-day weekends.
Traditional observation of Memorial Day includes visiting cemeteries and memorials to honor those who have died in military service ( Volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries), attending parades held on this day all over the country. Of course, flag of the United States is raised on homes and buildings. It is traditional to fly the flag at half staff from dawn until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the rest of the day.
Other traditional observances included wearing red poppies, which are symbol of the Memorial Day. In 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a physician with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, wrote the poem, "In Flanders Fields". Its opening lines refer to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldiers’ graves in Flanders. In 1918, inspired by the poem, YWCA worker Moina Michael attended a YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference wearing a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed over two dozen more to others present. In 1920, the National American Legion adopted it as their official symbol of remembrance.
To help Americans not to forget of the true meaning of Memorial Day, in December 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking people to stop and remember at 3:00 P.M.
In 2017 Memorial Day in USA falls on May 29.