The True Meaning of Memorial Day

By: Robert B. George, Esquire

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In honor of all the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms, the Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP gives pause to remember all of our fallen soldiers.

During this holiday weekend, many Americans will host or attend barbecues with family and friends, or head to the beach for the long weekend, while others will camp, boat, fish, hike, and the like.  It is important for us all to both remember and embrace, however, that Memorial Day is not just an excuse for a three-day weekend – it is a time to remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much so that we can have the freedoms and enjoy the privileges of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a safe and secure place known as the United States of America.

Memorial Day is an American holiday which is currently observed on the last Monday of May for the purpose of honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.  Memorial Day also unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official Federal Holiday in 1971. 

For many decades, Memorial Day was observed on May 30, which was the original date selected for the celebration of the first Decoration Day. Business closed and communities came together in a day of honor and remembrance.  They decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flags and flowers, and set time aside to honor those who fought and died for our freedom. Thereafter, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, which became effective in 1971, and established the first Memorial Day Holiday as the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend for Federal Employees which we all now enjoy and official celebrate as a Federal Holiday.

While something akin to our Memorial Day celebration is believed to date back as far as the Roman Empire where the Greeks held tributes to their fallen soldiers, the origins of the Memorial Day Holiday celebrated in the United States dates back to the end of the Civil War in 1865.  Having claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, the Civil War required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. 

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities across the United States were holding springtime tributes and celebrations of various forms in honor and remembrance of these fallen soldiers, which included decorating their graves, prayers, family gatherings and local parades.  It was from these early beginnings that the Official Federal Holiday we now know and celebrate as Memorial Day evolved.

To many, Memorial Day has come to signify the start of summer and a well-deserved three-day weekend.  For the families who have lost loved ones and those who have lost a brother and/or sister in arms it is a day of honor and remembrance.

Accordingly, it is important that we all also set time aside to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by all of our fallen warriors to ensure we remain the land of the free.

The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP is a full-service law firm in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We strive to help people, businesses and institutions throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania solve legal problems – and even prevent legal problems before they occur.  To learn more about the full range of our specific practice areas, please visit or contact Robert B. George, Esquire at 610-565-5700 or at [email protected].

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The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP, is located in Media, PA and serves clients in and around Media, Glen Riddle Lima, Brookhaven, Wallingford, Newtown Square, Lenni, Springfield, Swarthmore, Chester, Aston, Bryn Mawr, Morton, Woodlyn, Broomall, Gradyville, Folsom, Chester Heights, Crum Lynne, Glen Mills, Marcus Hook, Ridley Park, Drexel Hill, Marple, Bethel, Garnet Valley, Chadds Ford Concord, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County.

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