Memorial Day: Starting off Summer

Julia P., Staff Writer

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The school year is coming to an end, which means Memorial Day and summer are right around the corner. Happening on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day (or weekend) is a chance to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Originated in the years following the Civil War (around 1866), it was first known as Decoration Day. The day became an official federal holiday in 1971.

The reason why it was originally given the name Decoration Day is because people would go to the graves of the dead soldiers and decorate them to show respect, remember them, and thank them for all they did.

Many people don’t understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a national holiday meant to honor all of the people who served in the military, whether they were in war or peace, while Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military people who died while serving their country.

Some middle schoolers knew the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day; some were way off. Many students knew what Veterans Day is, but struggled to explain what Memorial Day is.

Helen S., an eighth grade girl, said, “I’m not sure exactly what Memorial Day is, but I know that Veterans Day is a day to honor our veterans, whether they are dead or alive.”

Some middle schoolers didn’t know what Memorial Day was. One seventh grade girl said, “Is it to celebrate our presidents?”

It also helps as an unofficial beginning to summer. Many students take this weekend to get out of town. Claire Q., a sixth grade girl, said, “I’m so excited for the start of summer and Memorial Day.”

“I’m going to Seaside with my friends. This is a tradition my family has been doing for years, but this is the first year I have been able to invite friends,” said Margaret R., a seventh grade girl.

Henry C., a seventh grade boy, will be staying in town for part of the weekend. “I will be playing baseball, then maybe going to my lake house.”

Memorial Day is a time to make memories with friends and family. Mason S., an eighth grade boy, said, “One Memorial Day, I went tubing with my friends. That was probably my favorite Memorial Day memory.”

Many students love to get away from Atlanta for Memorial Day break, but what do teachers do over the break?

History teacher Pat Egan said, “I am very excited for Memorial Day. I used to teach in the north where Memorial Day would be two days off, then we would continue with school until June. So it’s a great way to start summer and signify the end of school.”

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