Happy Memorial Day! To all who serve, fought and died, we honor and salute you.
For those of you who don’t know the history of Memorial Day, here’s a brief summary. You can share this information with kids or simply add to your own knowledge of the holiday celebrated the last Monday of each May.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, NY the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Even though this is no solid proof of where it actually began, it is believed that many different towns and cities started their own traditions to honor those who were lost in battle.
Memorial Day was however, officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 – but first observed on May 28, 1868 – by General John Logan. In 1873, New York was indeed the first state to recognize the holiday. By 1890, all northern states recognized Memorial Day. It was the National Holiday Act of 1971 that solidified the celebration on the last Monday in May – at which time both southern and northern states accepted the federal holiday.
There are still some southern states that honor additional dates in memory of their soldiers lost during the Civil War.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Some organizations will have moments of silence. Unofficially, this holiday marks the beginning of summer.
Do you know some little known facts about Memorial Day History? Share your memories, wishes and prayers for Memorial Day in the comment box below.