Memorial Day in Guam & Northern Mariana Islands

Memorial Day is a holiday celebrated in the United States and all U.S. possessions to remember the veterans who died while serving in the U.S. military. Because Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are both territories that are possessions of the U.S., this holiday is observed not only by military officials stationed on the islands but also by the general population.

In both of these territories, this day is a general day off for the population, and schools and many businesses are closed. This holiday is observed on the last Monday of May.

The History of Memorial Day

Although it would be nice if the origin of this holiday were straightforward, unfortunately, it is not. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, over 20 locations have claimed that the holiday originated with them.

All that is really known is that decorating the graves of soldiers is an ancient custom that dates back to the early history of humankind. In the U.S., it was originally known as Decoration Day.

Observing Memorial Day in Guam & Northern Mariana

Memorial Day is observed in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in much the same way. In Guam, American flags are lined up at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Asan, and there is usually a commemoration service at the Guam Veterans Cemetery located in Piti. The governor of Guam also usually gives a speech about the significance of the day.

In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), there are ceremonies at the CNMI Veterans Cemetery in Marpi, and usually, there is a speech delivered by the Governor. In both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, there are also various wreath-laying ceremonies that occur. These events are attended by the general public, military members, and the families of military members.