Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, honors the men and women who died while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. Unofficially, at least, this holiday marks the beginning of summer.
In 2018, Memorial Day is observed on May 28.
Every Memorial Day, families and communities across the nation take time to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. Americans observe this special holiday in many different ways, such as:
• Displaying the flag: On Memorial Day, the U.S. flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon. In the morning, the flag should be raised momentarily to the top, then lowered to half-staff. Americans also can honor prisoners of war and those missing in action by flying the POW/MIA flag.
• Visiting gravesites: Memorial Day originally was known as Decoration Day because it was a time to honor the nation's dead by decorating their graves with flowers. Many Americans make special flower arrangements and deliver them as a family to gravesites of their loved ones and ancestors.
• Family and American history: Memorial Day is a favorite time for Americans to read their family history, look at old photographs and learn about their ancestors, especially those who died in the line of duty. It also is an occasion for reading Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and other historic and patriotic speeches by presidents and leaders of our nation.
• National Moment of Remembrance: In accordance with a congressional resolution passed in 2000, Americans pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time for a moment of silence to remember and honor the fallen.
• Experience the national memorials: Memorial Day also can be an opportunity to visit or read about the national memorials in Washington D.C. and others around the country.
• Memorial Day parades: The Memorial Day parade is a time-honored tradition in cities and towns across America, where neighbors come together to remember with pride those who sacrificed so much for our country.
• Memorial Day poppies: The tradition of red poppies on Memorial Day was inspired by the
1915 poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. Every Memorial Day, we see volunteers selling red silk poppies as a way to raise funds for veterans organizations. The poppies are a symbol of tribute and support for veterans.
• Honor living veterans: We are proud of our York Township Senior Center members who are veterans, and we invite everyone to visit York Township Hall at 1502 S. Meyers Road in Lombard and see our "Remember When" display in the main hallway honoring those who have served in our nation's armed forces.
John Valle is supervisor of York Township.