Celebrating Memorial Day with History and Culture

Memorial Day: Monday, May 27, 2024

Memorial Day is a federal holiday dedicated to honoring all members of the United States armed forces who have died serving our country in war; from the Revolutionary War up to the present. Communities and individuals throughout the country mark the day with events and activities such as parades, concerts, visits to memorials and cemeteries, and the laying of wreaths and flowers. 

History of Memorial Day

Originally called Decoration Day, the holiday began during the Civil War (1861-65) on the local level in many states, with citizens placing flowers on fallen soldiers' graves. After World War I, the day came to be called Memorial Day and was held in remembrance of all members of the U.S. military who had died in war. In 1971, the date of the holiday was standardized as the last Monday in May.

Livestream Events

You can watch a livestream of the 2024 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. starting at 5:00 PM PST on Sunday, May 26, the day before Memorial Day. You can also watch a livestream of the National Memorial Day Parade down Constitution Avenue starting at 11:00 AM PST on Monday, May 27.

Memorial Day Weekend in San José and the Bay Area

The City of San José, including all SJPL locations, will be closed May 27 in observance of the holiday. 

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer. The San Jose Museum of Art will be open on Memorial Day. Do you know that you can get in for free with your San José Public Library card using Discover & Go? There's also a variety of free public art available around San José to celebrate our veterans like the  San Jose Vietnam War Memorial or the Veterans Memorial in Downtown. 

Below are books and ebooks about Memorial Day, available through SJPL.

Memorial Day Books and eBooks

Memorial Day, book cover
Memorial Day, book cover
Memorial Day / Día De Los Caídos, book cover
A Day for Rememberin', book cover
El Día De Los Caídos, book cover
Rolling Thunder, book cover
Memorial Day, book cover
Star-Spangled Crafts, book cover
Memorial Day and Other Stories, book cover