What is Memorial Day?


Oh, let’s go to a parade! General society views Memorial Day as the unofficial kick off of the summer. Many are confused as to which holiday they are participating in, Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day.

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008 (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

Memorial Day, formally known as Decoration Day, is observed as the day we actively remember our ancestors, loved ones, neighbors, and friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan and was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. After World War I, when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war, it is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays).

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