Most, if not all of us, have heard of Memorial Day, and celebrated it in some way over the years. Whether you attend a backyard barbecue, fireworks, or spend the day on the lake— Memorial Day is a time to celebrate. However, many people don’t quite understand what Memorial day stands for. Let alone, it’s history, and why it’s worth taking the time to observe. Therefore, on this Memorial Day, we’re going to take a moment to dive into the history. Furthermore, what it means to military families, veterans, and those who have lost their lives in the fight for freedom…
Memorial Day: History, Significance, and Observance
Memorial Day always falls on the last Monday of May. It goes to honor the men and women who have died while serving the United States within the military. In it’s beginning, this holiday was called Decoration Day. Memorial, or Decoration, Day began in the years after the Civil War, and was observed through visiting cemeteries, holding memorials and gatherings. In some areas, there will even be a parade to honor the fallen, and mark the beginning of the summer.
Why did it get its start?
The Civil War was more deadly than any other conflict in U.S. history to date. Due to the magnitude of loss, the government establishes the first national cemeteries. Furthermore, a day of mourning began organically across towns in the U.S. While the true origin of this holiday is not exact, Waterloo declares itself the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966.
Why the last Monday of May?
In its beginning, May 30th was the day of observance. However, in 1968, Congress passes an act to makes the last Monday of May Memorial Day instead— regardless of the date. Their purpose in doing this was to create a universal three-day weekend for federal employees.
Memorial Day is now largely a day of grilling, good company, and cold drinks. However, it’s important to understand why this holiday is in effect, and why we take time to honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice. So, during your celebration— take a moment. 3:00 p.m. on the dot is the national moment of remembrance. Honor those who serve, remember those who were lost, and celebrate the lives of both. To all veterans, military families, and officials— we salute you, and celebrate your hard work and sacrifice.