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Memorial day in 2019 will be on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Service man salutes the U.S. flag during a memorial day service at Cambridge American Cemetery

What Is Memorial Day

Memorial day traditionally held on the last Monday in May is a time for Americans to reflect on and honour the service all all those who lost their lives during conflict in the service of the United States armed forces. The event was originally known as Decoration Day and was created as a national holiday shortly after the end of the American Civil War.

Every year Memorial Day is marked by a service at Cambridge American Cemetery and features speeches by senior service personnel and celebrity guests. The end of the service is marked by a 21 gun salute and weather permitting a fly by involving USAF aircraft from nearby RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath. The services is normally scheduled to start at 11am local time.

Each year Madingley American Cemetery pays tribute to those who died in the service of their country by hosting a memorial day service comprising of a wreath laying ceremony, music performed by a United States military band, a reading of the president's memorial day proclamation and various other activities that pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in the service of the United States.

The British weather can be unpredictable at best and often gives rise to un clement weather around the memorial day holiday period. 2008 was to be no exception with cold winds and heavy rain through much of the ceremony.

A United States Air Force guard of honour from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk presented arms during a rendition of Taps and later performed a 21 gun salute. Airmen presented wreaths to veterans and their families. More than 110 associations attended and laid wreaths in tribute to the fallen.

This year a fly past by a KC135 tanker belonging to the 351st Air Refueling Squadron from RAF Mildenhall and F15E Strike Eagles of the 494th Fighter Squadron based at RAF Lakenheath paid tribute to the fallen with fly pasts including a missing man formation by the F15's.

other aircraft to perform fly-by's included a B25 Mitchell and the locally restored B17 bomber nicknamed the "Sally B". The Sally B is based at nearby Duxford Air museum which also plays host to the American air museum which house a substantial collection of World War 2 and modern aircraft including another B17, a SR71 Blackbird and a B52 Bomber. Visitors to Madingley American Cemetery may well wish to visit Duxford and the American air museum as Duxford airfield is approximately 20 minutes drive from Madingley via the M11 motorway. Directions to Duxford can be found here.

The "Sally B" is the last remaining air worthy B17 bomber in the United Kingdom, based at Duxford she is a frequent visitor to air shows both in the United Kingdom and abroad. The "Sally B" performed a staring role in the film "Memphis Belle" a story loosely based on the real Memphis Belle which became the first US Bomber to complete twenty five missions over Europe and return to the United States. The Sally B is independently operated and relies on sponsorship and donations to keep her flying.