History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, which unofficially marks the beginning of summer, has an official significance behind it. Memorial Day is meant to honor and remember those who have died while serving in the U.S. military. The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is that Memorial Day honors all those that have died while serving in the U.S. military and Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Memorial Day was previously known as Decoration Day because it was a day to decorate the graves of the Civil War soldiers in the springtime. Decorating graves is found throughout history, but the practice seems to have gained popularity in the United States during and after the Civil War.

While Decoration Day started out as a day to remember the fallen soldiers of the Civil War, it is sadly not the last war the U.S. has been involved in so the Memorial Day holiday has evolved to honor U.S. soldiers that perish in any war.

Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th for many years until Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 and established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. This made the date a federal holiday and created the 3-day weekend we’re familiar with today.

To celebrate Memorial Day, you can attend a Memorial Day parade, visit national cemeteries or war memorials. Every year on Memorial Day, the American flag is to be flown at half-staff until noon. Also a national moment of remembrance is to take place at 3:00 p.m. Be sure to take this moment, while enjoying your holiday, to remember and thank those that served for the United States.

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