Memorial Day Etiquette and Traditions


With Memorial Day quickly approaching (aside…how is it already May?!), I thought it would be fun to incorporate tradition and etiquette into one post. I have already done a general flag etiquette post, which you can find here: However, Memorial Day is a more solemn holiday, where we show our appreciation to those who have passed away either while serving our country or after doing so. Here are a couple of traditions I would encourage you to participate in to make the day even more meaningful. As with all traditions, this helps us link generations and helps maintain the importance of the holiday.

In 2000, Congress created the National Moment to make sure our troops are honored. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, every American is asked to pause for just one minute to honor the fallen.

Memorial Day is the perfect day to fly the USA flag. If you have a flag pole that allows the flag to be at half mast, it should remain there until noon. If you have a stationary pole, displaying it normally is perfectly fine.

If you are at a Memorial Day parade or concert where the national anthem is being played, non-military should stand and place their hand over their heart. Military, uniformed and non-uniformed alike, may salute the flag, if they so choose.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed servicemembers, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag.

A later amendment further authorized hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel. This was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14, 2008 (

I hope this Memorial Day you will consider some of these traditions and remember the true meaning behind the holiday. While some of us have the luxury of a day off from work, it is because of the men and women who have sacrificed for us and our country. God bless you all.