The Meaning Of The Color of Memorial Day

It could be easy to forget as we slip into a pair of shorts and get the burgers ready for the grill that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

Take a moment to remember the many men and women who have protected and served us, our country and the freedom we cherish.

Memorial Day Group of Images from Arlington National Cemetary

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. — Abraham Lincoln, November 1864

While you’re thinking about the meaning of this day, you might be interested to know that the association to the color of Memorial Day goes beyond just being part of the red, white and blue of the American flag. The color red and the poppy symbolize “remembrance of those that died in war”

This association came out of one the most memorable poems ever written about war. It is a poem called “In Flanders Fields” written by Lt. Col. John McCrae. The poppies referred to in the poem grew in profusion in Flanders in the disturbed earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried.

  In Flanders Fields a poem by John McCrayIn Flanders Fields a poem by John McCray

It is very moving and if you aren’t familiar with it you can hear it read in this video.

And if you think that that Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day came about after WWI you might be surprised to learn that it started shortly after the Civil War. Find out more at History of Memorial Day.

See more pictures and learn about the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Images: In Flanders Field- public domain, photographs-


  1. Cassandra says

    I feel like since we wear red, white, and blue for the fourth of July I wear red and white for memorial day to signify the poppies and peace.

  2. I think the 2 colors of red and blue make purple, hardly anyone understands the importance of that/