In honor of Memorial Day, we’ll be closed on Monday, May 31st. But, we’ll be back in the office the next day (Tuesday).
Memorial Day (a.k.a. Decoration Day) is a federal holiday marked annually on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day that honors and remembers only those men and women who have died (lost their life) while serving in the military while protecting the Constitution of the United States of America. Please don’t let their ultimate sacrifice be in vain. (In contrast, Veterans Day honors all military members who have served.)
History of Memorial Day
The history of Memorial Day starts with the American Civil War. This holiday started as an event that honored soldiers who had died during the war. Rumor has it that this day was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored the dead. The first national celebration of Decoration Day was on May 30th, 1868. Over twenty-four cities and towns across the U.S. claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo, New York, has been declared the official birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon B. Johnson in May 1966. In the late 1800’s, the holiday (before known as Decoration Day) became known as Memorial Day and was amended to include the deceased veterans of every war fought by American forces. Originally, the holiday used to be celebrated on May 30, regardless of the day of the week that it fell on. The day changed in 1968 when the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed.
Traditions of Memorial Day
Traditionally, Memorial Day is seen as a time of honor and remembrance. All over the United States, it is common to visit cemeteries, military ones in particular, and place flowers, wreaths, and small flags. Other common Memorial Day traditions include raising the U.S. flag quickly then slowly lowered to half-mast, and then it is raised again to full height at noon. The lowering of the flag at half-mast is meant to honor the fallen soldiers who died for their country. While re-raising the flag is meant to symbolize the resolve of the living to carry on the fight for freedom so that the nation’s heroes will not have died in vain. On the U.S. Capitol Building’s West Lawn, a Memorial Day concert is held each year and is broadcast live around the country. Also, there are thousands of Memorial Day parades across the country. Many wear display red poppies on this day as a symbol of fallen soldiers. This tradition grew out of the famous poem by Canadian John McCrae known as ‘In Flander’s Fields’. It is the place where Moina Michael conceived an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during wartime.