Memorial Day-a time to remember

Dateline: May 29, 2023

PHOTO BY Connor Florendo

PHOTO BY Connor Florendo

Hoin Lee & Connor Florendo, News Editor & Opinion Editor

      As students walk past closed schools and buildings on a warm Monday today, they will no doubt notice the Stars and Stripes flying at half-staff. But beyond that, most people move on without much thought about the Memorial Day holiday. 

     Daksh Yadav (‘26) said, I usually hang out with friends or play video games as if it’s an ordinary weekend.” . 

      With the focus of the Memorial Day weekend marking the near end of school and a time to enjoy the outdoors, it’s easy to overlook the reason for the long weekend. Memorial Day is recognized every year on the last Monday of May. According to the National Archives, it is officially “a day of remembrance to honor all those who have died in service to the United States during peace and war.” Many people don’t know the importance of this holiday. Yadav said, “ I don’t know much about Memorial Day,” and he admitted, like for most people, “it’s just another holiday.”

     An article from the Washington Post in 2016 said some people in America don’t understand the significance of Memorial Day because it is often confused with Veterans Day. According to, Veterans Day honors everyone who has served in the armed forces, dead or alive. Memorial Day specifically honors those who have fallen in while at war. 

      According to the National Archives, the root purpose of honoring fallen soldiers can be traced back to the Civil War. During and after the war, people began to pay tribute to dead soldiers by decorating graves. 

     The day was called “Decoration Day” and started on May 30th, 1868, according to the website of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. It was meant to honor soldiers who died during the Civil War, but the purpose of the holiday changed after World War I. 

    After the war, the country began to honor those who had died in all of America’s wars, not just the Civil War. According to, it was at this point that the holiday gradually became known as Memorial Day, becoming a federal holiday in 1971. 

     As more wars were fought, the holiday evolved from decorating the graves of the fallen to honoring our current soldiers with us. This includes holding special events celebrating the day, while also enjoying the time off from work and school.

     South, like any other school in America, has the day off. Discussion about Memorial Day  is not often brought up in class. Mr. Sean Feddema, a history teacher, said, “There needs to be more initiatives to have conversations about remembering the troops we’ve lost in various wars.”

     Ms. Julia Ferrante, a math teacher, said that she has also noticed little discussion about the holiday at South. In contrast, she recounted, “As a student in school, we always had events and dedications for Memorial Day.” She said that Memorial Day held larger significance for her since she has family members who used to and currently serve in the armed forces. 

     There are men and women in the armed forces who are working everyday to protect the country and American freedom. Though Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to celebrate the beginning of summer, it’s more important that we don’t forget about the meaning of this day: that the freedoms and values we hold dear in our society are because of the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives for our country. 

     Ms. Ferrante said, it’s important to “take a moment to appreciate those who sacrificed their lives so that we could be a free country.”