Crowd gathers at the Memorial Amphitheater, circa 1920-1950.

Flowers of Remembrance Day: Inaugurating a New Tradition at Arlington National Cemetery

Decorating graves with flowers, from a Civil War grassroots ritual of remembrance to a national tradition honoring all military dead.
Headstones in Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery and the Origins of Memorial Day

Since the first Decoration Day, the cemetery morphed from one of many Civil War burial grounds to a unique place of honor.

The Battle for Memorial Day in New Orleans

A century and a half after the Civil War, Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked his city to reexamine its past — and to wrestle with hard truths.

On Memorial Day, Weaponizing the American Flag

As a young woman, civil rights pioneer Pauli Murray discovered that the flag could be used as a symbol of defiance.

Who Invented Memorial Day?

As Americans enjoy the holiday weekend, does anyone know how Memorial Day originated?
Royal Fusiliers War Memorial, 2011. Photograph by Robert Scarth.

Monuments with Mission Creep

On “all wars” memorials.

Memorial Day and Our African American Dead

Are we honoring all of our American heroes this Memorial Day?

The Epic Bar Fight That Sums Up the Problem with Memorial Day

A Depression-era story of mourning, motherhood, and grandiosity.

Why Confederate Lies Live On

For some Americans, history isn’t the story of what actually happened; it’s the story they want to believe.

The American Revolution’s Starving, Barefoot, Heroic Troops

Our young nation was very poor, the war was very expensive, and Congress and the states wanted everyone else to pay.

New Memorial Day: Remembering Children Killed in School

It’s an exhaustive list. Far longer and deeper than you might suspect.

An Illustrated History of the Picnic Table

On Memorial Day weekend, we celebrate an icon of vernacular design.

The History of Military Parades in the U.S.

The Trump Administration has clamored for a military parade. What are the origins of tank-led celebrations?

Memorial Day, 1937

Eighty years ago, striking workers in Chicago were shot down by police. It transformed the course of labor rights in the US.