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Memorial Day

Memorial Day Lessons and Teacher Resources

Videos | Lesson Plans | Additional Resources


Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action. Many observed this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each gravesite at National Cemeteries. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies in the days leading up to Memorial Day; the poppy’s significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem “In Flanders Fields.” – Wikipedia

Lesson Plans:


Additional Resources:

  • This is the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Memorial Day tribute.

  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Education Place contains Memorial Day themed social studies and language arts activities for K-8 including coloring pages, quizzes, word finds, writing prompts, and essay ideas.

  • A full list of Memorial Day speeches, essays, poetry, prayers, and lyrics can be found on the U.S. Memorial Day site, plus quizzes, fill-ins, e-cards, and crossword, logic, search, and picture puzzles activities.

  • The Library of Congress presents original source material for Today in History: May 30 including historical photographs especially from the civil war and original sheet music.

  • For good Memorial Day quotes, go to The Memorial Day Tribute.

  • presents both sides of the holiday with traditional patriotic and historical links but also links to holiday recipes, and seasonal advise on barbecue, boating, swimming, travel, and tornado safety.

  • Go to for themed units on each war our veterans have served in, plus lots of Memorial Day activities, puzzles, and printables, primarily for K-8.

  • Band teachers will relate to Nancy Flanagan’s moving Memorial Day Parade experience.

  • If you have not found what you need in the previous sites, try with special features such as “The War Dead,” “US Military Leaders,” and “America’s Wars,” but also more unique ones like World War II movies and flag etiquete.
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