The True Meaning of Memorial Day| How to Celebrate in St. Louis

Posted on May 18, 2020

Memorial Day is a National Holiday and is always celebrated on the last Monday of May. Its purpose is to have a day set aside where we can honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military as well as those who just served. This year, Memorial Day is celebrated on Monday May 25th, 2020. 

This day originally was known as Decoration Day. It first came about in the years following the Civil War, and in 1971 it became an official Federal Holiday. Many families in America observe this holiday by visiting memorials or cemeteries, and by attending local parades or gatherings. Memorial Day is referred to by many as the unofficial start to summer!


History of Memorial Day

The Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 and claimed more lives than any other war in US history. The country’s first national cemetery was established shortly after for these fallen soldiers, where people began to decorate gravesides with flowers and other memorabilia.

Decoration Day

In May of 1968, General John. A Logan called for a national day of remembrance which he later referred to as “decoration day“. This day would be designated to decorating fallen soldiers graves with flowers to honor their service to our country. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act so that Memorial Day will always be observed on the last Monday in May. It has become a tradition to have family barbecues, throw parties or go to a parade that very often include military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations.

To learn more about the history of Memorial Day, click here.

How to Celebrate Memorial Day in St. Louis

Although this Memorial Day may be a little different due to the current situation, we are providing a guide to the most well-known activities to participate in on this national holiday in St. Louis.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Jefferson Barracks Cemetery is one of the most visited sites of the Memorial weekend in St. Louis. It is one of the National Cemetery Administration’s oldest internment sites and has served as a burial place for soldiers from all wars. Jefferson Barracks Cemetery opened in 1826 and was the Army’s first permanent base west of the Mississippi.

The cemetery will be open Memorial Day Weekend as it is open every day of the year from dawn until dusk. Typically the boy scouts place an American Flag at each and everyone of the headstones and there are more than 188,000, so it takes many boys and many hours as well. It is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year but it is particularly an amazing site on Memorial Day Weekend in St. Louis!

Jefferson Barracks Park

Located right next to cemetery along the Mississippi river is the Jefferson Barracks Park. It sits right along the Mississippi River. There are beautiful walking trails to enjoy as well as several shelters that can be reserved for family gatherings.

Pending Activities for this Memorial Day in St. Louis

Although many activities in the St. Louis area are pending due to COVID-19, we have compiled a list of places that normally host memorial day events. Even if you are unable to attend them this year, we highly recommend looking into future events at these locations:

  • Grants Farm
  • The St. Louis Zoo
  • St. Louis County Greek Festival
  • Main Street St. Charles
  • Frontier Park
  • Memorial Day parade hosted by Alton, Illinois (22 miles long)

Everyone here at Cardinal Orthodontics is wishing you and your family a very happy Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy a picnic, or an outdoor barbecue all while celebrating the true meaning of this heroic day!

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