The United States has a long history of appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the American people. One such occasion is Memorial Day, celebrated this year on May 27, 2024, the last Monday of May every year.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day as a memorial day to honor the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers. The red poppy was the only flower that would grow on the war-torn battlefields in western Belgium and northern France among the endless rows of graves and became known as the Flower of Remembrance based on a poem of the battlefield scene written by World War I Colonel John McCrae.

The first large Decoration Day ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on May 30, 1868, and today, continues to take place with the laying of the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the decoration of each grave with a small American flag. After World War I, Memorial Day as it is now known, was expanded to not only honor those who died in the Civil War, but in all American wars. To further ensure the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes are never forgotten, on Dec. 28, 2000, former President Bill Clinton established the White House Commission for the National Moment of Remembrance and designated 3 p.m. on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to honor the fallen. It is also a time that the commission encourages the people of the United States to give back to their country. From the American Revolutionary War to the Iraq War, we have lost nearly 1,300,000 who served our country. 

“As we gather this Memorial Day, we remember and pay tribute to the selfless service of the brave men and women who gave their lives serving in the armed forces. Their sacrifice and dedication to our nation is a solemn reminder that freedom is never free. Let us honor their valor by striving to uphold the values they fought to defend and continuing to support our veterans and active-duty military personnel,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe.

Memorial Day commemoration ceremonies will take place on May 27 at 10 a.m. at the Riverside National Cemetery and Los Angeles National Cemetery. Please call ahead to confirm event details. Other opportunities to honor our veterans include:

  • Participating in the national Moment of Remembrance on May 27 at 3 p.m.
  • Displaying the American flag
  • Decorating the grave sites at State Veterans Cemeteries
  • Visiting a local veterans’ home or hospital where many veterans receive long-term care and housing assistance to let them know they are not forgotten.

San Bernardino County is home to over 93,000 veterans. Please take a moment to honor these men and women and thank our veterans this Memorial Day and every day.

San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs is available to assist all veterans with filing for VA disability claims, pensions, education benefits, college fee waivers for dependents, veteran designation on driver’s license or ID, medical benefits, survivor and burial benefits, and more. For additional information, call San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs toll-free at 866-472-8387.

Additional County Update News – May 23, 2024