5 ways to pay respect on Memorial Day

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 24: Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment place American flags at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day May 24, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. 'Flags-In' has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948. Every available soldier in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment participates in these events. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Memorial Day is meant to be one of the most solemn American holidays.

First known as “Decoration Day,” it began three years after the end of the Civil War, when a former Union general called for a way to remember fallen service members. For decades, Americans marked the holiday on May 30. In 1971, the federal government officially designated the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.

Here are ways you can honor those who have given their lives for this country.

Take action:

According to the Memorial Day Foundation, there are specific customs for paying respect to fallen service members on Memorial Day:

  • Flying the US flag at half-staff until noon
  • Observing a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time
  • Placing flags or flowers on veterans’ graves

How to help:

Here are some charities aiding families of service members who died serving their country:

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