Honoring Those Who Gave Their Lives Serving This Country

Honoring Those Who Gave Their Lives Serving This Country

Memorial Day is a federal holiday for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May.  Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day sometimes are confused with each other because they both honor veterans. The difference is that Veteran’s Day celebrated on November 11 honors those currently serving or who have served in the armed forces at some point in their lives. 

The first national celebration of the holiday took place on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. Originally it was known as Decoration Day at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. In 1971, federal law changed the holiday’s observance to the last Monday in May and extended the honor to all military personnel who died in American wars.  Every year there is a national observance at Arlington National Cemetery with the placing of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the decoration of each grave with a small American flag.  Protocol for flying the American flag on Memorial Day includes raising it quickly to the top of the pole at sunrise, immediately lowering it to half-staff until noon, and displaying it at full staff from noon until sunset. 

There is a regular Memorial Day Ceremony in the Conejo Valley either virtually or in residence at the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park, Mortuary and Crematory in Westlake Village. 

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the following numbers reflect wartime deaths:  Revolutionary War-4,435, War of 1812-2,260, Indian Wars-1,000, Mexican War-13,283, Civil War-498,332, Spanish-American War-2,446, World War I-116,516, World War II-405,339, Korean War-54,246, Vietnam War-90,220, Persian Gulf War-1,565, and Global War on Terrorism-6,852

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