Memorial Day, which falls on Monday, May 30, is a federal holiday and most government workers have the day off, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
The holiday always falls on the last Monday of May and is a day of remembrance for those who died in the service of the United States. By tradition, citizens are encouraged to pause for a moment of silent reflection at 3 p.m. on the day.
Memorial Day became a recognized federal holiday in 1971 but can trace its history back to the 1860s and the American Civil War. A few years after the conclusion of the war, a flower laying ceremony, then known as Decoration Day, was held at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, at the behest of Union veterans.
Arlington National Cemetery still hosts ceremonies to honor the fallen every Memorial Day. During the preceding weekend, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment lay American flags at more than 228,000 headstones. On the day, the president places a wreath on The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.
The next federal holiday is also the newest addition to the list, only being added last year. Juneteenth National Independence Day is on Sunday, June 19. Most federal employees will have the following Monday off work.
Ryan White is a reporting intern at Sightline Media. He is currently a senior at The University of Maryland, College Park studying journalism.