Memorial Day marks the official start of the summer season. But it means more than just a day of parades and picnics. Memorial Day highlights a long-standing tradition of honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?
Originally known as “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day began as a way for families to honor their dead. It was first celebrated in late summer with an afternoon of cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves before the long winter set in.
After the Civil War, however, the day took on more meaning as the country looked for ways to honor those who had died in the conflict in a more patriotic way, with community military parades and activities added to the day’s events. After World War I, the day became more widespread, culminating in the creation of a national Holiday in 1971 when it was renamed Memorial Day.
The Poppy Remains a Symbol of Memorial Day
The Poppy is the unofficial symbol of Memorial Day, with veterans’ organizations urging those remembering the fallen soldiers to wear one. But what is its history? There have been several people credited with turning the Poppy into the symbol of the day, but most likely it is a tradition that began when people began to notice the flower sprouting from the ravaged earth after battle.
You see, the poppy seed floats through the air unseen, settling into the ground where it remains dormant until something disturbs the earth (like a great battle). Then the seeds “pop” or sprout small red flowers (which some say reminds them of the blood spilled at the site). The symbolism of the small flower led many to begin wearing it to memorialize those who died in battle.
How Will You Celebrate Memorial Day?
Few today remember the solemnness of the day, but you can change that in 2018. While there are plenty of fun things to do in Denver on Memorial Day, why not take a few minutes this year to honor the soldiers that have given their lives for all Americans? Here are some ideas:
- Visit a veterans cemetery
- Help clean a veterans cemetery (or at least a few forgotten graves)
- Say a prayer
- Attend a Memorial Day parade or formal event
- Send a letter to a Gold Star Family
Things to Do in Denver on Memorial Day
Of course, finding a way to honor those who have died for our freedoms doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the day off of school and work. From taking in a professional baseball game or concert to hitting one of the cities many museums for a variety of special attractions, Denver has a lot to offer this Memorial Day, slated for Monday, May 28. Here are some fun things that Denver has planned for this special holiday weekend:
WHEN: May 26, 2018
WHERE: 16th Street Mall – Pedestrian Mall
This is a block party you won’t want to miss! Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Denver Day of Rock (located at the 16th Street pedestrian mall) will feature more than two dozen free rock concerts on five stages. Food and beer gardens will be set up throughout downtown for the event, which is a fundraiser for Amp the Cause, a Denver-based non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 50 children’s charities.
WHEN: May 26, 2018
WHERE: POF Hall, 1340 Sherman St.
This annual tribute honors all fallen Colorado heroes and their families. There will be music, storytelling and ceremonial activities.
WHEN: May 26–27, 2018
WHERE: Stapleton’s Conservatory Green
This fine arts and crafts festival features both Colorado artists and a select group of national artists. More than 50,000 art lovers are expected to attend this year’s event — make sure you’re one of them!
We hope everyone has an opportunity this year to honor those who have given us our freedom.