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40 Memorial Day Quotes to Share in Honor and Remembrance

Honor the sacrifice of our heroic fallen with these words of wisdom that remind us of the true meaning of patriotism.

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Honoring Memorial Day

While Memorial Day tends to herald the beginning of the summer season with barbecues, beaches, and the first sunburn of the season, the “holiday” is truly a day for mourning and honoring the military members who have fought and died for our freedom. Memorial Day 2022 falls on Monday, May 30, this year, and in order to prepare, you may want to figure out how to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed.

There are plenty of Memorial Day activities to participate in, Memorial Day movies to watch, and patriotic quotes to read, but the following list of Memorial Day quotes will help you honor the fallen soldiers (and express gratitude) in the way they deserve.

"Here men endured that a nation might live."—Herbert Hooverrd.com, Getty Images

“Here men endured that a nation might live.” —Herbert Hoover

Get even more inspired by former leaders with these presidential quotes.

"We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage."—Theodore Rooseveltrd.com, Getty Images

“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.” —Theodore Roosevelt

If this inspired you, you’ll definitely want to read up on these strength quotes.

Abraham Lincoln quote on concrete texture with American flagsrd.com, Getty Images

“Honor to the Soldier, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as best he can, the same cause—honor to him, less only than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle.” —Abraham Lincoln

If you’re looking to dress up your home for Memorial Day, check out these red, white, and blue Memorial Day decorations.

"Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well."—Jennifer M. Granholmrd.com, Getty Images

“Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well.” —Jennifer M. Granholm

Planning to go out this holiday? These are the restaurants open on Memorial Day.

Thomas Campbell quote on concrete texture with American flagsrd.com, Getty Images

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.” Thomas Campbell

These inspiring leadership quotes will fuel your success.

Memorial Day Quote By John F Kennedy Udrd.com, getty images

“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” —John F. Kennedy

Find out which stores are open this Memorial Day (and which will be closed).

 "You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor."—Aristotlerd.com, Getty Images

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” —Aristotle

Don’t miss the best Memorial Day sales you need to shop this year.

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!"—Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” Maya Angelou

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."—Mark Twainrd.com, Getty Images

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” —Mark Twain

If you’re wanting to take a long weekend this holiday, these Memorial Day getaways should do the trick.

 "Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility."—Eleanor Rooseveltrd.com, Getty Images

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

Don’t miss these Memorial Day furniture sales happening this holiday weekend.

Memorial Day Quote By James Baldwinrd.com, getty images

“I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” —James Baldwin

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."—Elmer Davisrd.com, Getty Images

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” —Elmer Davis

 "I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free . . . so other people would be also free."—Rosa Parksrd.com, Getty Images

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free…so other people would be also free.” —Rosa Parks

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay."—Barack Obamard.com, Getty Images

“Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.” —Barack Obama

"So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good."—Helen Kellerrd.com, Getty Images

“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” —Helen Keller

 "A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it."—Frederick Douglassrd.com, Getty Images

“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.” —Frederick Douglass

 "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die."—G.K. Chestertonrd.com, Getty Images

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” —G.K. Chesterton

Memorial Day Quote By Harriet TubmanRd.com, Getty Images

“I had reasoned this out in my mind: There was one of two things I had a right to—liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other.” —Harriet Tubman

 "True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."—Arthur Asherd.com, Getty Images

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” —Arthur Ashe

"Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no future."—Elie Wieselrd.com, Getty Images

“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no future.” —Elie Wiesel

"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom."—Bob Dylanrd.com, Getty Images

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” —Bob Dylan

"Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them."—Franklin D. Rooseveltrd.com, Getty Images

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."—Nathan Halerd.com, Getty Images

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” —Nathan Hale

"The legacy of heroes — the memory of a great name, and the inheritance of a great example."—Benjamin Disraelird.com, Getty Images

“The legacy of heroes—the memory of a great name, and the inheritance of a great example.” —Benjamin Disraeli

"As we set today aside to honor and thank our veterans, let us be mindful that we should do this every day of the year and not just one."—Beth Penningtonrd.com, Getty Images

“As we set today aside to honor and thank our veterans, let us be mindful that we should do this every day of the year and not just one.” —Beth Pennington

Learn the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day (if you don’t already know, you’re not alone).

"We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."—Cynthia Ozickrd.com, Getty Images

“We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” —Cynthia Ozick

 “Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.”—Mary Roachrd.com, Getty Images

“Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” —Mary Roach

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."—Joseph Campbellrd.com, Getty Images

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” —Joseph Campbell

 "This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn't come home. This is not Veterans Day, it's not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom."—Tamra Boltonrd.com, Getty Images

“This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home. This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.” —Tamra Bolton 

If you were looking for quotes geared more toward veterans, check out these Veterans Day quotes that honor those who served.

Memorial Day Quote By Claudia Pembertonrd.com, getty images

“America without her soldiers would be like God without his angels.” —Claudia Pemberton

 "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."—Adlai Stevenson IIrd.com, Getty Images

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” —Adlai Stevenson II

“If words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice." —Ronald Reaganrd.com, Getty Images

“If words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.” —Ronald Reagan

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” —St. Ambroserd.com, Getty Images

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” —St. Ambrose

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” —Jeff Millerrd.com, Getty Images

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” —Jeff Miller

Memorial Day Quote By Bob RileyRD.com, Getty Images

“I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” —Bob Riley

Memorial Day Quote By Nick Lampsonrd.com, getty images

“There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.” —Nick Lampson

Memorial Day Quote By Christopher Gadsenrd.com, getty images

“What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.” —Christopher Gadsden

Memorial Day Quote By William J Clintonrd.com, getty images

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” —William J. Clinton

Memorial Day Quote By Calvin Coolidgerd.com, getty images

“Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” —Calvin Coolidge

Memorial Day Quote By General Douglas Macarthurrd.com, getty images

“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” —General Douglas MacArthur 

Now that you’ve been inspired by these Memorial Day quotes, learn more about the history and significance of the Memorial Day poppy.

Additional reporting by Molly Pennington, PhD.

Emma Taubenfeld
Emma Taubenfeld is an assistant editor for Reader’s Digest who focuses on digital lifestyle topics such as memes, social media captions, pick-up lines, and cute pets. When she’s not working, you can find Emma reading corny young adult novels, creating carefully curated playlists, and figuring out how to spice up boxed mac and cheese.