Many of us will be enjoying the day off for Memorial Day, but how many of us know the history of Memorial Day?
Here are the basic facts:
- Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.
- Its purpose is to take a day to remember those who have died serving our country in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- It originated after the American Civil War as a way to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the Civil War.
- Memorial Day was first officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan who was a commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
- It was observed for the first time on May 30, 1868. It was observed that first day by the placing of flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
- New York was he first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873.
- By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states.
- The South refused to acknowledge the day for a long time. They instead honored their dead on a separate day. They finally decided to celebrate it after World War I when the holiday had changed to include all Americans who had ever died in any war.
- It is celebrated on the last Monday of the month of May.
- It is considered the beginning of the summer vacation season.
Photo by eddiecoyote
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