What Memorial Day means to Americans (May 25)

A member of the Army 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, places a flag at the headstone of fallen military member during its annual Flags In ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
The National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., illuminated at dusk. (© Efrain Padro/Alamy)

What Memorial Day means to Americans (May 25)

 

Memorial Day honors America’s military men and women who lost their lives in service to their country.

The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May, a time of year when weather is turning warmer and schools and universities are adjourning for summer break. To Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Many people attend parades, go to the beach or have cook-outs with friends and family.

But at its heart, Memorial Day is a day when Americans reflect on the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in military service.

These images show scenes of Americans across the country observing Memorial Day.

D8T8YA Memorial Day Parade in downtown Sarasota Florida (© Images-USA/Alamy)

Marchers in Revolutionary War–era soldiers’ uniforms at a Memorial Day parade in Sarasota, Florida, honor those who fought and died in the establishment of the United States.

A pair of military boots are left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during the 30th anniversary of the Rolling Thunder ‘Ride for Freedom’ demonstration in Washington, Sunday, May 28, 2017. Rolling Thunder seeks to bring full accountability for all U.S. prisoners of war and missing in acti

Military boots left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the black granite walls of which list the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 26: U.S. Marines look on in front of a lighted American flag in Times Square during Fleet Week festivities on May 26, 2012 in New York City. Fleet week, which has been held in New York City since 1984, celebrates the U.S. Navy and Marines Corps with a week of ship visitation

U.S. Marines look on in front of a lighted American flag in New York’s Times Square during Fleet Week festivities. Fleet Week, which has been held in New York City since 1984, celebrates the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with a week of ship visitations and military demonstrations. In most years, Fleet Week concludes on Memorial Day with a military flyover to honor those killed while serving in the armed forces.

A family uses a picnic table to have a Memorial Day feast outside the Vicksburg National Cemetery, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Vicksburg, Miss. The Vicksburg National Cemetery has the largest number of Civil War interments of any national cemetery in the country. Of the approximately 17,000 interments,

A family has a Memorial Day picnic outside Vicksburg National Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The cemetery has the largest number of Civil War interments of any national cemetery in the United States.

A member of the Army 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, places a flag at the headstone of fallen military member during its annual Flags In ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

A member of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, a unit known as the Old Guard, places a flag at the headstone of a fallen military member during the unit’s annual Memorial Day “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.