Memorial Day: March 1
Memorial Day is a public holiday in Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands celebrates Memorial Day or Nuclear Victims’ Memorial Day every 1st of March every year. The holiday serves to commemorate those who perished in the nuclear done in Marshall Islands. The holiday was used to be called Decoration Day.
The Marshall Islands were named after British navigator John Charles Marshall when he arrived in the Islands in 1788. Several countries managed to invade the Island, from Spain, Germany, Japanese, and later the United States of America after the latter’s invasion on the Island against Japanese Imperial forces in World War II.
History of Marshall Islands’ Memorial Day
From 1946 to 1958, motivated by exploring the potential of nuclear weapons in warfare, the US made Marshall Islands as test site for its various nuclear tests. The US approximately conducted around 67 nuclear tests in the Island which contaminated most of the Island country’s territory.
The Bikini Island, known previously as Escholtz Atoll during the Second World War, became a test site for various nuclear tests by the US (Operation Crossroads). The US conducted atomic bomb tests in the area to determine radioactive fallout’s effects on naval vessels. Bikini and Enewetak, two of the country’s major atolls, were sites for this nuclear experiment.
The Castle Bravo, the largest atomic bomb test ever made by the US in the island caused so much damage and contamination in the surrounding Islands with health effects lingering until today. Marshall Island and the US are in a dialogue for nuclear claims that had happened in the area during the Nuclear test era.
Marshall Islands’ Memorial Day: Traditions, Customs and Activities
People in the Marshall Islands celebrate Memorial Day by visiting memorials and cemeteries to honor those who died in the nuclear tests in the country. Public speeches are conducted along with parade and cultural events.