Rollx Vans Celebrates Memorial Day 2024

rollx vans memorial day

This Monday, May 27, America pauses to reflect on the brave individuals who sacrificed their lives in service of their country. Memorial Day is an opportunity to share precious time with family and friends over a long weekend, but it’s important to take a moment and consider the cost that has been paid to ensure safety and freedom for so many.

The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day has been observed in some form or fashion for more than 150 years following the end of the Civil War. In its earliest celebrations, it was also known as Decoration Day due to the tradition of adorning the graves of soldiers with flags and flowers.

According to historical accounts, one of the first organized commemorations took place shortly after the Confederacy’s surrender in 1865 when thousands of formerly enslaved people honored fallen soldiers at a race track in Charleston, South Carolina. Another early example from 1866 is a group of women decorating the graves of soldiers who died in the Battle of Shiloh — one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War with casualties numbering around 23,000. Several other cities — including Macon, Georgia, and Richmond, Virginia — claim to have been the true birthplace of Memorial Day

The first officially recognized celebration of Memorial Day took place on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, New York. This community event kicked off some Memorial Day traditions that persist today, including businesses closing for the day and flags being flown at half-staff. A century later, President Lyndon Johnson and Congress declared Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan called for May 30 to be “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” This led to the first official Declaration/Memorial Day, which occurred later that month.

The massive casualties resulting from the Civil War necessitated the establishment of national cemeteries. One of America’s best-known, Arlington National Cemetery, hosted the first major official observance in 1868. This commemoration saw the graves of more than 20,000 Civil War soldiers decorated by 5,000 participants. In a speech prior to the decoration ceremony, General James A. Garfield — who would be elected President of the United States 13 years later — said:

“With words, we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens.”

For more than a century after, Memorial Day would continue on as an annual celebration taking place on May 30. Memorial Day celebrations would grow to honor all fallen soldiers, including those who perished in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. It wasn’t until 1971 that it was officially declared a national holiday that would take place on the last Monday in May.

Celebrating Memorial Day in 2024

Today, Arlington National Cemetery remains the site of the most prominent Memorial Day celebration in the United States. Before the start of the weekend, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment — also known as the Old Guard — plants a flag at the gravesites of more than a quarter-million service members as well as at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Old Guard also performs this sacred task at U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. This tradition, called Flags In, has taken place every year since 1948.

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the public can take part in Flowers of Remembrance Day. Guests are provided with flowers and invited to lay them at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This beautiful memorial is a symbol representing those who have died in war but were never found or identified. It currently houses the remains of three unidentified soldiers who perished in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The tomb is constantly patrolled by members of the Old Guard, and the changing of the guard ceremony takes place multiple times throughout the day.

Arlington also hosts an official National Memorial Day Observance ceremony on Monday at its Memorial Amphitheater. This event, which takes place at 11 a.m., includes performances by the U.S. Air Force Band’s Singing Sergeants and the U.S. Coast Guard Band, a parade, and remarks. A livestream of the event is available for those not able to attend in person.

While Arlington National Cemetery hosts the most prominent Memorial Day observance, it’s a holiday that’s celebrated in cities all across America in a wide number of ways. There’s no wrong way to commemorate the occasion — your Memorial Day celebration in Minneapolis, for example, might include a picnic in the park, a bike ride around the city, or a visit to Lakewood Cemetery.

Because Memorial Day creates a three-day weekend for many, it’s a great opportunity to have a cookout, spend some time catching up with family, or unwind from the stress of work. But no matter how you choose to spend it, there are two points during the day when it’s ideal to stop and reflect. At 11 a.m., all Americans are urged to unite in an hour of prayer and reflection. At 3 p.m., we’re also urged to honor the National Moment of Remembrance.

If you fly an American flag at your home, it’s respectful to fly it at half-staff from 11 a.m. on. You can also honor the occasion by posting tributes to friends and family members who have fallen in the line of duty. In addition to using social media platforms, you can post a tribute as well as photos and other mementos at the Veterans Legacy Memorial website.

While Memorial Day specifically honors those who have passed on, it’s also an opportunity to share your appreciation for the living who have served our country. If you have a veteran or active service member in your family, reach out to them and tell them how much you admire them.

Rollx Vans remembers those who have given everything in the service of our nation as well as those continuing to give today. It’s our distinct honor to partner with organizations like Paralyzed Veterans of America to ensure that the brave people who have sacrificed for America can enjoy more of the freedom they so richly deserve. If you know a veteran in need of a wheelchair-accessible van, our dedicated team of Veterans Solutions Specialists is available at 800-956-6668. We wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe Memorial Day!

« Back to Blog