Memorial Day 2023: All you need to know about this historic day

Memorial Day is the one day that makes all others possible. We must always remember and honor those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our American way of life, and allowed us to remain the home of the free.

Memorial Day 2023 holds a special significance that extends beyond cookouts and time off work. This day of commemoration reminds us of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

To honor their remarkable legacy, we use a symbol of freedom and bravery – a flower: the red poppy. By understanding the history and significance of this special day, we can take the time to reflect on the bravery of those who have served and those who continue to serve our country.

Memorial Day 2023- Day to Remember

Memorial Day 2023 is always commemorated in the U.S. on the last Monday in May. In 2023 Memorial Day is on Monday, May 29. In Canada, Memorial Day is commemorated with Canada Day on July 1st each year (in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador), and Remembrance Day on November 11th. Victoria Day, May 20, is Canada’s unofficial start to summer.

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Memorial Day, on May 29th, invokes thoughts of summertime, hamburgers, hotdogs, and pools for many Americans. However, it is essential to appreciate that the last Monday in May is of the utmost importance; it is a day of remembrance and tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Our National Day of Commemoration, steeped in tradition and history, began as “Decoration Day” after the Civil War. During this emotional period, mourners laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. Memorial Day 2023 has been dubbed the “unofficial” commencement of summer, but as a society, we need to remember, with immense gratitude, the service of the brave men and women who have protected our freedom.

Today, as the nation honors Memorial Day, many will relish a pause from the daily grind. Along with our cherished free time, it’s important to note many retailers will adjust their hours of operation. Target will maintain its regular hours while PetSmart will reduce theirs. A few other stores will close completely for the day. Take time to both remember and enjoy, whatever your plans may be.

Here are some facts and history on the Memorial Day 2023 :

  • Originally designated to honor soldiers of the Union who died in the Civil War, Memorial Day evolved to commemorate the memory of fallen heroes in any military fatalities post World War I. Many cities in the United States held their respective memorial observations in honor of their hometown heroes at the close of the Civil War.
  • In 1868, the idea for a new holiday originated with Illinois Senator John Alexander Logan. The former Union general and keynote speaker proposed the concept after leading one early observation. Logan leveraged his position as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union soldiers, and issued a proclamation declaring a national “Decoration Day.” That first year, the bill identified May 30th as the day to decorate the tombs of Union soldiers.
  • The term “Memorial Day” began to appear intermittently as an alternate name. Following WWII, it became more widely used and later attained the official title by Federal law in 1967.
  • Before Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Act in 1968, Memorial Day was celebrated each year on May 30. Thanks to the act, Memorial Day became one of four holidays to be shifted to designated Mondays to create 3-day weekends for workers. This new holiday schedule moved Veterans Day, Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day as well as Memorial Day. Eventually, Veterans Day was returned to its original date, November 11, honoring Armistice and Remembrance Day observances in other Commonwealth nations.

Why Is The Poppy Associated With Memorial Day?

Poppies have been associated with those who have fallen during wartime since World War I. In the US, people honor the memory of those who died trying to protect the country by wearing red poppies on Memorial Day, as per The Department of Veterans Affairs. In Canada, the tradition of wearing poppies specifically on Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11th, continues as a way of honoring the memory of service personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The color red is often associated with death and war, but it was not chosen to endorse these warlike symbols. Instead, it was the red poppy – which flourished in the battlefields where few other plants could – that would come to be the emblem of the war effort. These fields were nothing but mud and devastation, yet the poppies rose above it all, providing solace to those suffering in a terrible conflict. And so it was that a Canadian soldier, Colonel John McCrae, was inspired by these fearless flowers to pen his famous poem in May 1915.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
By- Colonel John McCrae

This poem touched many hearts, particularly Anna E. Guerin from France and Moina Michael from Georgia. The two women joined forces to sell paper poppies for the benefit of children orphaned by the War. By 1922, the VFW embraced the poppy as its official memorial flower, and Poppy Day was subsequently designated to fall on the Friday before Memorial Day.


1. Which day is happy Memorial Day 2023?

Every year, the United States memorializes on the last Monday of May. This day is observed to honor and remember the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.

2. Why is Memorial Day a happy holiday?

Memorial Day 2023 serves to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. This solemn day of remembrance may evoke memories of loved ones lost. While your intentions may be well-meaning, it’s important to refrain from wishing someone a happy Memorial Day if they are grieving.

2. Is it respectful to say Happy Memorial Day?

While it’s appropriate to say “Happy Veterans Day” and thank military members for their service, it’s important to note that this holiday serves as a tribute to all living and deceased Veterans. Conversely, Memorial Day 2023 exclusively honors those who gave their lives during active service.

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