Memorial day is a day to remember the men and women who have died in the nation's service. This day is a federal holiday in the United States and is observed on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day was formerly known as Decoration Day as after the Civil war many people decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers. But the observance expanded after World War I to include the people who died in battles.
History Of Memorial Day
The history of Memorial Day dates back to the 19th century. Decoration Day was first officially observed on May 30, 1868. General John Logan in his General Order No 11 first proclaimed Decoration Day officially. After the Civil war, many communities set aside a day to memorize the deceased of the Civil War. Richmond, Charleston, Boalsburg, South Carolina; Pennsylvania, Virginia, Carbondale, Illinois; Mississippi, Columbus, and some other cities observed the earliest Memorial Day. These observations gradually united around Decoration Day. Decoration Day became Memorial Day in 1882 to include honoring soldiers who had died in other wars. Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be observed on the last Monday of May in 1971.
The history of Memorial Day shows the first observation of the holiday officially in Waterloo, New York on the day on May 5, 1866.
Legislation Of Memorial Day
The Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill on June 28th, 1968. This bill moved four traditional holiday dates to specified Mondays to create convenient three-day weekends. The four holidays are Washington's Birthday, which later became President's Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day. This moved the traditional date of Memorial Day, May 30 to the last Monday in May. In federal level the law took effect from 1971. Gradually all the 50 states adopted the same within few years.
How Memorial Day Is Observed?
Traditionally Memorial Day is observed by visiting cemeteries and memorials. At 3:00 PM (Washington time) a national moment of remembrance is observed. The US flag is flown at half-staff from dawn to noon (according to local time). The volunteers place US Flags on each gravesite of the National Cemetery.
Memorial Day is a weekend and marks the beginning of summer unofficially. So its time for picnics, sports and family gatherings. Some families honor members of families who have died on Memorial Day.
The history of Memorial Day has always been a special day of commemorating the memories of the brave deceased soldiers of war.