Memorial Day, not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, is a federal holiday in the United States dedicated to the remembrance of the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country.
When Did It Begin?
Memorial Day started shortly after the Civil War. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died on both sides of the war. It was known for a long time as Decoration Day because many people would place decorations on the graves of the fallen soldiers. The name Memorial Day was given to the date in 1888, but it wouldn’t legally become Memorial Day until 1967.
What Day is it?
Originally, the holiday was celebrated on May 30th every year. Because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which took effect on January 1, 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday of May. This would ensure long weekends for federal employees, including service men and women. There are a few groups, such as the American Legion, who would like to have the holiday moved back to its original date to pay proper tribute to the fallen.
How Can I Observe Memorial Day?
Many people observe Memorial Day in many different ways. It is customary to fly the flag at half staff until noon and then raise it to the top until sunset. Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” it has also become customary to wear red poppies. Many Americans don’t seem to know this, but Congress passed a law in 2000 that requires Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time to remember and honor those who have fallen in service to our country.
Although Memorial Day is a solemn event, it’s important to remember that honoring those who gave their lives isn’t about feeling guilty for their sacrifice. Instead, celebrate and remember them.
Leave a comment about how you choose to observe the holiday or mention a fallen loved one you’re proud of.