Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, marks the beginning of summer to many of us. We gather with friends and family for barbecues, picnics, and trips to the beach – celebrated over the long, warm weekend. Many Americans include visits to cemeteries and memorials where volunteers often mark Veterans’ grave sites with U.S. flags.

Memorial Day banner artThis freedom of celebration we all enjoy is the result of the real reason for Memorial Day: the ultimate sacrifices made by our military men and women who fought and died for the freedoms and liberties we Americans hold dear.

The “National Moment of Remembrance” established by Congress, takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. Americans are asked to pause for the duration of one minute in an act of national unity to remember that the American way of life has been made possible by the lives of so many who have sacrificed for us to live free.