Memorial Day ceremonies are planned around Harford County today, Monday, to honor those who died in the defense of our country and our liberty.

The Town of Bel Air and American Legion Harford Post 39 will honor American veterans at 10 a.m. Monday with a ceremony at the town's Veterans Memorial at the corner of Lee Way and Hickory Avenue, next to Town Hall. For information call 410-303-8138.

A combined Memorial Day service will be held at Veterans Memorial Park at North Parke and Rogers streets in Aberdeen at 11 a.m. Monday, with participation by members of Aberdeen's fraternal organizations – American Legion Post 128, VFW Post 10028, Catholic War Veterans and Korean War Veterans.

There will be a luncheon afterward for all veterans at Bernard L. Tobin Post 128 of the American Legion at 44 N. Parke St. in Aberdeen. For information, call 410-272-9822.

Havre de Grace's Memorial Day ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Monday at Angel Hill Cemetery, where small flags will be placed on veterans' graves. Everyone will then move to Tydings Memorial Park, where the ceremony will continue at 11 a.m. For more information, call 410-939-0234.

In neighboring Cecil County, Perryville's Susquehanna Post 135 of the American Legion will have its Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the post at 300 Cherry St. in Perryville. Guest speaker will be Sgt. Maj. Adrianne D. Harris, 1st Area Medical Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground. The Perryville High School Band and Choir and Boy Scout Troop 144 will also participate.

Light refreshments following the Perryville ceremony will be provided in the post banquet hall. For more information, call 410-642-2771.

Memorial Day began as a holiday called Decoration Day, when the nation would decorate with flowers the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War.

May 30 was chosen as the date of the holiday because it was thought flowers would be in bloom across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. The first large observance was in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the "birthplace" of Memorial Day. In 1971, the last Monday in May was declared a federal holiday to observe Memorial Day.

While for many Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and the opening of pools across the county, Memorial Day has a more important meaning: it honors the men and women who died serving in the United States military.