We celebrate Memorial Day as a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s military service. This is in contrast to Veterans Day, when we honor all who have served in the U.S. military.
President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. James A. Garfield — a Civil War general, an Ohio congressman and a future president — was the principal speaker. After the ceremony, some 5,000 participants decorated the gravesites of more than 20,000 soldiers.
The National Moment of Remembrance was established as an act of Congress. It asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.