This upcoming Monday is Memorial Day, the unofficial start to the summer season. Memorial Day is an American Holiday observed on the last Monday of the month of May.
Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in the US Military. The day was originally known as Decoration Day and originated in the years following the Civil War in the mid-1860’s. It wasn’t until 1971 when Memorial Day became an official federal holiday.
The day is usually celebrated by many Americans by visiting grave sites or memorials, holding cookouts with friends and family, lake and beach visits and parades. This year is a little different however, many Memorial Day events across the country have been canceled due to social distancing and the CDC recommendations, but there are still ways to participate.
In 2000, Congress passed a National Moment of Remembrance which ask Americans to pause for one minute at 3 pm in at act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 pm is a time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.
Interesting Memorial Day Facts:
- Multiple cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day: But according to Congress, President Johnson declared Waterloo, New York to be the “Birthplace of Memorial Day” referring a celebration the town held in 1866. Many other cities are known to have celebrated the holiday earlier but the first celebration remains in dispute.
- It was originally called Decoration Day: It was celebrated by decorating the graves of fallen soldiers with flags, flowers and more.
- Union General John A. Logon founded the holiday: General Logon called for the holiday to be observed on May 30th in 1868
- Memorial Day wasn’t always held on the last Monday of May: it wasn’t until 1971 when the after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect in 1971 and was then changed to the last Monday in May.
- Its customary for the US President or Vice President to give a speech.