Americans turned out throughout the country on Memorial Day on Monday (May 31) to honor the nation’s military personnel who lost their lives in service.
In Los Angeles, hundreds of flags appeared on graves throughout the Los Angeles National Cemetery.
In Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the U.S.’s oldest Memorial Day parade returned for its 150th year, after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
And in Wilbury, Ohio, organizers abandoned the annual Memorial Day balloon release in favor of bird release. Three house finches who had been injured and nursed back to health were set free at the conclusion of a ceremony that involved prayers and a wreath-laying.
Meanwhile on the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that was decommissioned in 1992, veterans gathered for the National Anthem.
The events came as U.S. President Joe Biden used his Memorial Day speech on Monday to defend America’s “imperfect” democracy, calling for more work to deliver the promise of what he said remained “the greatest experiment” in world history.
In a speech at Arlington National Cemetery touching on voting rights, freedom of speech and efforts to rectify persistent economic and racial disparities, Biden warned that democracy was “in peril” in the United States and around the world in the face of autocratic forces he did not identify.
(Production: Kristin Neubauer)