The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States that honors fallen service members. Observed every year on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day began after the American Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day.

It is customary to mark Memorial Day by visiting graveyards and war monuments and putting flags or flowers on the graves of service members. One of the biggest Memorial Day traditions is for the President to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

This year, President Obama has proclaimed Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and designated the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. as a time during which people may unite in prayer. Read the entire proclamation here.

Most local towns in the Upper Valley have a war memorial site and a few even organize more formal Memorial Day celebrations. Here are some ways you can honor the men and women who laid down their lives to defend our freedom:

  • Visit monuments dedicated to soldiers, sailors and marines.
  • Put flags or flowers on the graves of men and women who served in wars.
  • Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.

The American Legion Post #22 hosts a Memorial Day parade in the city of Lebanon. The parade will start at 11:00am (in vicinity of “old” Sacred Heart School and conclude in Colburn Park for a brief Memorial Service. For more information, please visit http://www.post22.org. 

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