Memorial Day History and Current Perspectives

This month you can look forward to a three day weekend May 25-27, thanks to Memorial Day on May 27.


Jenna Wilson, Deputy Editor in Chief

Enjoy your holiday weekend and don’t forget to celebrate this federal holiday by remembering and honoring soldiers who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“I think it’s a good holiday,” Grossmont student Bobby Christian said. “I am thankful for what people have given up.”

Memorial Day is always celebrated the last Monday of May and was originally called Decoration Day. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website, the first Decoration Day was on May 5, 1869, three years after the Civil War ended.

The name Decoration Day came from it being a time when people (mostly women and religious organizations) went out and decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and other ornaments.

On Memorial Day, it is a tradition to wear a poppy flower. Poppies were used to decorate graves and are worn in honor of the casualties of war. According to Veterans Advocate Cassandra Crosby, in an article for, the tradition of wearing poppies actually stems from their use in Europe after World War I.

“The poppy, in Europe and the US, quickly became a symbol of the fallen military after the publication of In Flanders Field by Lt. Col. John McCrae,” Crosby wrote.

After asking a handful of students on Grossmont campus about what they do for Memorial Day, it seems Memorial Days are most often spent enjoying the sun with family and friends.

“I always go to the river. It’s always been a vacation week for me,” said student Rachel Mathews.

Another student Hannah Yamaguchi said, “This year we’re going down to the beach to ride jet skis.”

“I always have to work,” said student Tyler Flood. While his peer Gaby Estudillo said she spends her Memorial Day weekend with friends in LA.

The season is beautiful and there is lots of fun to be had, but don’t forget to remember the reason for this holiday which honors those who gave up their lives for this country.