Memorial Day Observances

36 U.S. Code § 116 requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe Memorial Day by praying for permanent peace. Here are some photos and videos of how various Presidents and the people of the United States have observed Memorial Day / Decoration Day over the ages.

Memorial Day 2010: President Barack Obama laying a wreath at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

Credit: Pete Souza.

Memorial Day 2006: President George W. Bush participates in wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Day 1999: President Bill Clinton attends Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Day 1984: President Ronald Reagan at the Memorial Day ceremony honoring an unknown serviceman of the Vietnam Conflict.

Memorial Day 1962: President John F. Kennedy speaks at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Day 1948: President Harry S. Truman attends the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Credit: Harry S. Truman Library (National Archives).

Memorial Day 1945: U.S. War Dead Honored on Memorial Day

Memorial Day 1942: Washington D.C. parade.

Credit: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).

Memorial Day 1925: President Calvin Coolidge attending Decoration Day ceremonies at Arlington.

Credit: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress.

Memorial Day: President Warren G. Harding making a Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery.

Credit: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress).

Memorial Day 1917: President Woodrow Wilson at Arlington National Cemetery.

Credit: Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress)
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Memorial Day 1917: Decoration Day parade.

Credit: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

Memorial Day: President William Howard Taft reviewing Decoration Day parade.

Credit: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).