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Do people dress in red white and blue for Memorial Day?

Do people dress in red white and blue for Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is observed on the last Monday of May each year. This day is often marked by people visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay their respects, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Some people also decorate the graves of the fallen with flowers and American flags. This leads to the question – do people dress in red, white and blue clothing on Memorial Day to honor the sacrifices made by the troops?

History and Significance of Memorial Day

Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when certain groups started decorating the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. The practice became widespread after World War I and the holiday was officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967 by federal law. Over time it has become a day to honor all Americans who have died in military service for their country. The date of observance was changed from May 30th to the last Monday in May in 1971 under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Memorial Day is significant as it commemorates those who lost their lives fighting for the United States. It is a solemn day to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces to protect the freedoms and values of America. Their heroic acts in times of war and conflict ensured that future generations could live in peace and prosperity. The day also reinforces our commitment to take care of the families of the fallen troops and veterans of war.

Traditions of Wearing Red, White and Blue on Memorial Day

There are certain traditions associated with Memorial Day observances in the United States:

Wearing Bunting

Bunting of red, white and blue is hung on homes, buildings, and cemeteries in remembrance of fallen soldiers. The colors represent America’s national flag.

Parades and Services

Parades are held where veterans and military personnel march wearing their uniforms. Wreath laying services and flag ceremonies are also conducted at war memorials and cemeteries. People wear clothing or accessories in red, white and blue hues as a mark of respect.


Veterans organizations hand out poppies which became a symbol of Memorial Day because they were first worn in 1921 to honor World War I veterans. People wear poppy pins on their lapels.

Flying the Flag

Flags are flown at half-staff from dawn until noon local time as an official observance. Many Americans also display the flag outside homes or buildings over the weekend.

So there are prominent traditions of people adorning the colors representative of the American flag as a tribute to remember fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. Let’s look at this in more detail:

Wearing of Red, White and Blue Clothing

Type of Apparel Color
T-shirts White or blue, with red & white printed designs
Tank tops Red, white or blue solid colors
Polo shirts Red, white or blue solid colors
Pants Blue or white jeans or trousers
Shorts White or blue
Skirts Red, white or blue colors
Dresses Red, white and blue floral patterns
Suits Navy blue or white
Shoes White sneakers or loafers
Jewelry Red, white and blue bracelets, necklaces
Nail polish Red or blue shades
Hair accessories Red, white and blue ribbons

Americans wear various types of casual and formal apparel representing the national colors on Memorial Day as a patriotic display of support. Women often sport red, white and blue floral dresses. Young children and even pets wear commemorative apparel as well!

The red, white and blue clothing items are commonly worn while attending Memorial Day functions. People dressing in unison creates a visual spectacle and exhibits solidarity towards the purpose behind the occasion. It serves as an outward symbol of inner mourning and appreciation for those who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom.

Reasons for Dressing in Red, White and Blue

There are several reasons why people make an effort to wear the national colors on Memorial Day:

To Honor the Fallen

Donning the patriotic colors is a way to pay respects to those who died in military service. It keeps their memory alive and is an expression of gratitude.

As a Symbol of Patriotism

Wearing red, white and blue clothing highlights American pride and loyalty on a day dedicated to the country’s heroes.

To Represent Unity

It presents a unified image of people standing together to commemorate those who fought to protect national ideals.

To Participate in the Observances

The colors allow people to feel part of community Memorial Day events like parades, ceremonies and barbeques.

To Educate Younger Generations

Seeing adults wear thematic colors piques children’s interest in the historical significance of Memorial Day.

To Follow Tradition

For many Americans, wearing patriotic colors on Memorial Day is an annual custom handed down over generations.

To Signal Grief and Loss

Just as black signifies mourning, red, white and blue are funereal colors for Memorial Day observances.

To Demonstrate Commitment to Country

Wearing the flag colors displays devotion to the United States. It reminds people that freedom is not free.

So dressing in symbolic regalia on Memorial Day is both an external indicator and internal reflection of American patriotism remembering fallen soldiers.

Other Modes of Displaying Red, White and Blue

While clothing is a prevalent way of honoring the holiday, other common practices of exhibiting the red, white and blue scheme on Memorial Day include:

Flying the Flag

The American flag is displayed at half-mast until noon on homes, buildings and cemeteries. It is also prominently featured in Memorial Day parades and events.

Wearing a Poppy Flower

The historically significant red poppy flower is worn on lapels, shirts and dresses in memory of the fallen troops.

Decorating Graves

The graves of deceased veterans are adorned with small American flags and wreaths in patriotic colors.

Table Decor

Picnic and barbeque tables feature disposable red, white and blue plates, napkins, cups and tablecloths.

Face Painting

Young kids at Memorial Day events get their faces painted with American flag motifs and red, white and blue patterns.

Nail Art

Women and girls decorate fingernails and toenails with artistic designs in the three national colors.

So the symbolic hues are integrated into various Memorial Day rituals and ceremonial tributes beyond just clothing.


In conclusion, wearing red, white and blue apparel on Memorial Day is a longstanding tradition in America to honor those fallen in military service. Patriotic colors remind us of their sacrifice and demonstrate national pride. Citizens don attire and accessories in the flag motif while attending parades, ceremonies and other events held on the last Monday of May. The custom brings people together to mourn collective loss and uphold American ideals of freedom. So dressing in red, white and blue has deep emotional resonance and unites the spirit of remembrance on this important national holiday. It keeps alive the memory of the debt we owe to those who gave their lives to protect our country.