Explore the origins and significance of Memorial Day with these themed activity worksheets.

Our Memorial Day worksheets contain a number of different activities using a dedicated set of vocabulary words related to the Memorial Day observance, including word search, fill in the blanks, scrambled words, word wall flash cards, acrostic poems, crossword puzzles, and more. The collection also includes six different packs of Bingo cards, which can be used during discussions of the topics. Last but not least, a KWHL (know, what, how, learn) diagram is included to help students pick a topic to explore in more depth. This holiday is also referred to as "Decoration Day". During this holiday we remember all of those that gave their life during military service. This is not to be confused with Veterans Day where pay homage to all those who have served the military.

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Print Memorial Day Worksheets

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Reading Passage Worksheet

Memory Passage

Memorial Day is a U.S. Federal holiday. Its purpose is to remember the men and women who have lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

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Questions Worksheet

Passage Questions

We began to celebrate this date after which war?

History Worksheet

The History

More people died fighting during the Civil War than have died in any other conflict in our country's history. Following the Civil War, the first national cemeteries in the U.S. were established.

Counting Worksheet

Counting

Great for younger students and themed to this celebration.

Word Search Worksheet

Word Search

Find the theme related words in the puzzle. Write each word you find on a line.

Crossword Worksheet

Crossword Puzzle

Use the clues to complete the puzzle. You will need to determine the word first.

Editing Worksheet

Proofreading

Clean up both paragraphs use all of proofreading marks.

Syllables Worksheet

Counting Syllables

Sound out these words and determine the number syllables that are present.

Dictionary Worksheet

Practicing Dictionary Skills

Use the dictionary entries to answer the questions. Pay attention to the bold terms in the sentences.

Writing Worksheet

Writing Worksheet

Why do you think that it became a national holiday? Why is it an important holiday to observe?

What Ya Doing Worksheet

What We Do?

What are you doing on that day? Take sometime to write something thoughtful.

Brave Worksheet

Home of the Brave

Complete that passage by using the terms that are listed at the bottom of the worksheet.

Scramble Worksheet

Word Scramble

See if you can rearrange all these terms to make sense of them. Remember they all share a central theme.

Word Ladder Worksheet

In Service to their Country

Find the words that connect the pair of words provided, changing only one letter per step.

Trivia Worksheet

Trivia

The law that established the day of the week on which this holiday would be observed.

Poem Worksheet

Acrostic Poem

Write an acrostic poem about the celebration and events that take place.

Visual Crossword Worksheet

Visual Crossword

Some of these will require some thought and vocabulary.

Word Find Worksheet

Word Find

Find all these terms within the matrix of letters: Ceremony, Commemorate, Freedom, Monument, Remember, Respect, Sacrifice, Service, Tradition, Tribute, Unknown, Wreath

Spelling Worksheet

Missing Letters

Don't miss those letters. Spelling becomes fun.

Alphabetic Order Worksheet

Alphabetic Order

See if the kids know the significance of the wreaths.

Visual Addition Worksheet

Visual Addition

Add up all those soldiers by combining them into one.

Visual Subtraction Worksheet

Visual Subtraction

Symbols of the United States are taken away. How many are left?

Word Chop Worksheet

Word Chop

A really good phonics activity for students to learn new terms.

Scramble Worksheet

Word Scramble

There are no capital letters to use as anchors here.

Maze Worksheet

Maze

Help the solider find the troops by traversing the maze.

KWHL Worksheet

KWHL

A good question to ask is what is the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.

Bingo Card #1

Bingo Card #1

We use words like: tradition, hero, sacrifice, wreath, and remember.

Bingo Card # 2

Bingo Card # 2

A little more advanced terms such as: medical, ceremony, service, commemorate, and monument.

Bingo Card #3

Bingo Card #3

Interesting terms such as: salute, honor, troops, and decoration.

Bingo Card #4

Bingo Card #4

This can make for a great classroom activity.

Bingo Card #5

Bingo Card #5

Vocabulary words include: unknown, respect, tribute, and freedom.

Bingo Card #6

Bingo Card #6

The last card in the set. Use all six of them to add variation.

Freedom Poem Worksheet

Freedom Poem

We have seen some students write very powerful poems with this acrostic setting.

KWL Worksheet

KWL

See if the students understanding the difference between liberty and freedom.

Poem #2 Worksheet

Acrostic Poem #2

Write a well thought out poem.

Word Wall

Word Wall

Cut out the words on these 12 pages.

What is Memorial Day?

We have heard about this holiday, but do you know what we celebrate this day? Let's take a look!

In the United States, a national holiday for paying respects to our national heroes is observed every year. Since they gave their life away for our country, the day is known as Memorial Day. It is always celebrated on the last Monday of May each year.

Every individual has their own way of paying respects to the martyrs. This holiday began as a day to honor the fallen soldiers during the Civil War. The first time, this day was officially observed in 1868 when Decoration Day was observed.

In 1967, the name was changed to Memorial Day. Every year, the national concert is held on the lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol. Dressing up in the flag's colors, children wave flags to honor the heroes. Every year, a parade in Ironton, Ohio, is held too!

The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American public holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May. It honors the gallant men and women of the US military who have fallen in the nation’s wars around the world. Formerly called "Decoration Day," it originated around the time of the American Civil War and was given the status of an official federal holiday in 1971. It’s also considered the unofficial start of the summer season.

Americans primarily commemorate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, holding memorials and similar gatherings in honor of the war heroes, and participating in different Memorial Day parades held up and down the country.

Early Observances

The Civil War, fought between 1861 and 1865, led to more deaths than any other armed conflict in the history of the United States. So many lives were lost that their burial needed the establishment of America’s first national cemeteries.

Towards the end of the 1860s, people in various towns and cities had started organizing tributes for fallen soldiers during springtime. As a result, decorating the graves with flowers and offering prayers in honor of the departed became common.

While the exact origin of the traditions remains somewhat unclear, local communities around the country have independently held ceremonies in this regard. The earliest recorded event of this kind is said to have been organized by a bunch of former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865. This was soon after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.

More than a hundred years on from this in 1966, the federal government officially declared Waterloo, New York as the hometown of this holiday. It was selected because the event here is an annual occurrence with lots of communities participating. Businesses tend to close during the proceedings and residents as well as visitors adorn the graves of fallen soldiers with flags and flowers. The very first Memorial Day in Waterloo was observed on May 5, 1866.

The Story Behind the History

Memorial Day (formerly "Decoration Day") was initially declared as a date for honoring just the people lost during the American Civil War. However, the US found itself in the middle of another major conflict during World War I. With time, the holiday has evolved to include military personnel martyred in other battles as well.

Today, we observe this holiday to honor American soldiers who have died in any war. Aside from the Civil War and the two World Wars, recognition is also given to those who laid down their lives during the Vietnam War, Korean War, and the relatively recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For many decades, May 30 was the official date of Memorial Day. This was selected by General John A. Logan for the original Decoration Day. Logan led an organization of Northern Civil War veterans and actively campaigned for a nationwide date of remembrance of fallen soldiers.

In 1968, however, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed by the Congress. According to it, the last Monday of May was to be observed as Memorial Day. The intention behind this move was to create a three-day weekend for federal employees and military personnel. The change came into effect in 1971 and has been followed ever since. In the same legislation, Memorial Day was recognized as an official public holiday.

Common Related Traditions

Every year on Memorial Day, various events are held in honor of fallen military personnel across the United States. The achievements of veterans are also celebrated during these ceremonies. Moreover, heavily attended events and parades are common in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.