Americans will celebrate Memorial Day on May 26. The federal holiday has its roots in the American Civil War era, and honors the more than one million men and women who have died while serving our country. Those who have sacrificed their lives in the United States Armed Forces to protect American liberty are remembered with gratitude by displays of patriotism around the nation.
Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May, which typically coincides with the last few weeks of grade school. According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day" and was first celebrated to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. It later developed into a holiday which honors all men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is distinguished from Veterans' Day in that Americans honor those who have died while serving our country on Memorial Day.
Americans have historically celebrated this holiday by placing American flags or flowers on the gravesites of loved ones and those buried in Arlington National Cemetery. American flags are to be set at half-staff on this day until noon to symbolize mourning for those who have died serving our country, and are thereafter raised to full-staff to remind Americans to continue the fight to uphold the freedoms that we have been given. Many cities also celebrate those who have served our country with parades.
Believers are reminded on this day of the ultimate sacrifice that was paid on our behalf - that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly bore our sins on the cross at Calvary so that we might be reconciled to Him, offering free forgiveness and new life to all of those who call on His name. John 3:16-17 says:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" (English Standard Version).