Memorial Day: What is it?

RBC | Memorial Day is considered the unofficial kick-off to summer vacation for a lot of people, a three-day weekend for others, and a good reason to enjoy a barbecue and time with friends and family for others. None of those things are the reason for Memorial Day.

Following the Civil War, Americans started honoring the Union and Confederate dead on May 30. They called it Decoration Day.

In Meeker, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Decoration Day involved getting dressed up and a community parade to the cemetery to lay flowers or wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers.

After two world wars and the Korean War, the tradition of honoring our nation’s fallen soldiers gained a greater following nationwide, and in 1967 the name of the holiday was changed to Memorial Day. In 1968 the Uniform Holiday Act designated Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, creating “Memorial Day weekend” as we now observe it. By way of contrast, Veterans Day, celebrated on Nov. 11, honors all persons who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day, celebrated the third Saturday in May, honors those currently serving in the military.

  • Rangely VFW Post No. 5261 will place flags on graves at the Rangely Cemetery Monday. Cmdr. John ‘Hoot’ Gibson will lower the flag to half-mast in the morning and raise it again at noon.
  • Meeker: May 28, 9:30 a.m. – Memorial Wreath Ceremony at Fifth Street bridge, continuing to the cemetery at 10 a.m.