Memorial Day

West Virginia has a rich heritage for holidays, including Memorial Day. Grafton, West Virginia has the longest on-going Memorial Day Observance in the country.  They have had a parade every year since 1867.

Memorial Day Events

Memorial Day is a Federal Holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday in May.  Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving our country in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.  By the 20th century, Memorial day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.  Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.


The gift of flowers at a memorial site is a ritual that occurs around the world, understood in every culture. The floral tributes at funeral bespeak both the beauty and the brevity of life and evoke memories of other days. These type of memorials are made each day at Arlington National Cemetery, at the dozens of funerals occurring there and in solitary communion with a departed loved one.

Memorial Day parades are flag-waving, patriotic events with marching bands and floats. Parades are usually sponsored by local veteran organizations and are also an important part of Memorial Day events as people and groups come together in remembrance to honor fallen veterans and family members and share a story or two. Parades often include musical performers and celebrities.