Memorial Day: a Time of Reflection

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• Part 2: Remember the Living

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Part 1: Memorial Day Basics

One of the things Americans celebrate on Memorial Day is the memory of soldiers killed in wars.

The holiday has its origins in ceremonies to honor soldiers killed in the American Civil War, way back in 1866. And as American soldiers have fought in several wars since then, the holiday has absorbed memorials to fallen soldiers in those wars as well.

Memorial Day, then, is a holiday to remember soldiers killed in wars, both at home and abroad. And how do Americans celebrate this holiday? By attending cemetery ceremonies and downtown parades, among other things. It is a federal holiday, so a great many adults do not have to work. It is usually a day off from school as well, so children can be with their families.

Most American children have someone in their family (living or dead) who fought in a war. If they don't, then they probably know someone who did. In a certain way, Memorial Day is as much about the soldiers who survived the wars as the ones who did not.

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