Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance for Those Who Served Our Country

May 20, 2024

"We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them." –Francis A. Walker

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country. It was originally called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers.

Red poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower. A poem called "In Flanders Fields" refers to the fields of poppies growing among the graves during the First World War.

Since the late 1950s, soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) place American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery on the Thursday before Memorial Day. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing through the weekend.

Beginning in 1996, hundreds of volunteers from the Commonwealth Girl Scout Council and the Boy Scouts of America participate in what they call their "Annual Luminaria" on the Saturday before Memorial Day. They set, light, and maintain a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg National Cemetery. More than 80% of the soldiers buried here are unknown, but their sacrifices are still honored.

Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971. On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon, then raised to the top of the staff.

The National Moment of Remembrance Act was passed in 2000. All Americans are asked to voluntarily and informally observe a moment of remembrance and respect by pausing at 3:00 PM on Memorial Day for a moment of silence.

Memorial Day Services in Douglas County:

Additional Events:

  • Saturday, May 25: Colorado Remembers at Colorado Freedom Memorial at Springhill Community Park in Aurora. This event will have a free pancake breakfast, themed entertainment, a Remembrance Ceremony, displays of military artifacts, and special tours of the Memorial.
  • Monday, May 27: Colorado's largest Memorial Day Parade will take place in Commerce City. The event begins with a service at Veterans Memorial Park, followed by the parade and a live concert. 
  • Monday, May 27: Memorial Day Service at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver. Our nation pauses to honor service members who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. All are welcome to attend.