The first official Memorial Day celebration was held in the United States in May 1868. On that day, which was then called Decoration Day, people remembered the war dead by decorating their graves with flowers.
To learn more about the history of Memorial Day, see Memorial Day History.
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Education World provides five lessons to help students learn about the purpose and significance of Memorial Day. Click each of the five lesson headlines below for a complete teaching resource. (Appropriate grade levels for each lesson appear in parentheses.)
Memorial Day Shoebox Parade
Create a timeline of U.S. conflict and a Memorial Day Shoebox Parade to commemorate soldiers who fought for freedom. (Grades 3-12)
Mapping Your State's Role in the Vietnam War
Teach the significance of Memorial Day by creating a map showing the hometowns of your state's Vietnam War dead. A stunning visual reminder! (Grades 2-12)
The Wall Inspires Letters to Veterans
Eve Bunting's moving book, The Wall, inspires students to write letters to veterans at local veterans' hospitals. (Grades K-12)
Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice
Learn about the significance of Memorial Day by using an online graphing tool to graph America's war history. (Grades 3-12)
Thinking About Our Troops
A handful of ways for kids to connect with America's soldiers serving around the globe. (Grade K-12)