Families add flags to headstones at Miramar National Cemetery. Photo by Chris Stone
Families add flags to headstones at Miramar National Cemetery. Photo by Chris Stone

Memorial Day began as a way to honor the nation’s Civil War dead. Initially known as Decoration Day and marked in local communities by adorning the graves of the lost with flowers, the tributes went national in 1868.

Over the decades, people began to refer to the commemoration as Memorial Day. After World War I, the day expanded to include honors for all the nation’s war dead. For many years it fell on May 30, but legislation passed in 1968 designated Memorial Day as a national holiday and moved it to its familiar home – the final Monday in May.

San Diego County offers those who want to pay their respects a range of options throughout the region. You may head to the USS Midway Museum all weekend to view the Remembrance Wall or on Saturday go to Miramar National Cemetery where Rotary District 5340 has sponsored 17,000 American flags to be placed on the gravesites of fallen veterans. The event starts at 2:30 p.m.

There are several events on Monday – here’s a selection:

Midway Museum – hosts a 9 a.m. wreath-laying ceremony on the flight deck, followed by musical from the Troy Athens High School Band, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Arizona Band and Bonita Vista High School’s Music Machine until the 3 p.m. National Moment of Remembrance.

North County Cemetery District – hosts two events, one at Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido with VFW Post 1513 and Auxiliary, 2540 Glenridge Road, at 9 a.m. and the second, at San Marcos Cemetery, 1021 Mulberry Drive, at 10 a.m.

Veterans Association of North County – holds a 10 a.m. ceremony with a speech by Col. Chuck “Dude” Dudik, chief of staff of Marine Corps Installations West, Camp Pendleton; at the association’s resource center, 1617 Mission Ave in Oceanside.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery – hosts a public service at 10 a.m.

Coronado Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422 – hosts speakers and a presentation of colors at Star Park, 1030 Park Place, at 10 a.m.

Mira Mesa Senior Center – offers a community remembrance ceremony and flag-raising; 8460 Mira Mesa Blvd. at 10:30 a.m.

Fallbrook Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1924 – hosts a remembrance at the Masonic Cemetery, 1177 Santa Margarita Drive, at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at the VFW post, 1175 Old Stage Road.

American Legion Post 468 – hosts an 11 a.m. remembrance at Julian Pioneer Cemetery, 2948 A St., followed by a potluck at the post, 2503 Washington St.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church – hosts an 11 a.m. community service in Del Mar featuring Dan Donoghue, CDR, USN, (Ret.); with a Memorial Roll Call, during which names of members of the armed forces who died in active service will be read; 1 Parish Lane.

American Legion San Dieguito Post 416 – hosts 11 a.m. remembrance with food and music by the Dollar Bill Band to follow the ceremony; 210 West F St., Encinitas

Miramar National Cemetery – the 1 p.m. ceremony marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Speakers include Gregory A. Daddis, U.S. Army (Ret.), director of the San Diego State Center of War and Society, and Consul General of France Julie Duhaut-Bedos; 5795 Nobel Drive.

Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial – 2 p.m. ceremony honors Marines killed while serving in Sangin, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. The Marines were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, known as “Darkhorse,” based at Camp Pendleton. Keynote Speaker will be Maj. Gen. Jason Morris, director of operations at Headquarters Marine Corps; 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South.