Memorial Day is a day that we know comes at the end of May and usually involves a three-day weekend for many school kids and working adults; many view it as the beginning of summer and often throw parties or attend some event outdoors to bring in the season of fun.
For some, Memorial Day may just be a name with a meaning of a leisure day and that is perfectly fine. And for those looking to know a few factoids about the holiday while enjoying his or her time off, they are in the right spot: here are some facts about the holiday that is known as Memorial Day.
Where it all began
There is plenty of discrepancy as to when and where the first resemblance of the holiday began, but one thing is for certain: it happened in the United States. There were various celebrations of union soldiers after the Civil War, but the first widely recognized celebration came in 1868; General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic-a group of former sailors and soldiers, proposed that May 30, 1868 would be known as Decoration Day. Many graves at Arlington Cemetery were decorated in flowers and people remembered the fallen union and confederate soldiers.
It was renamed Memorial Day after World War I
Before World War I, many people associated it with a celebration of the union cause in the Civil War. It wasn’t until after the first World War that the name was changed to Memorial Day, and the celebration included American soldiers lost in every war.
Red poppies on Memorial Day
The long tradition of wearing red poppies got it start in the year 1915. An overseas war secretary read a poem by John McCrae and wore a silk poppy to honor the fallen American soldiers. In 1921, the American Legion embraced the symbol of the poppy.
The timing of the holiday
The National Holiday Act of 1971 officially moved Memorial Day from May 30, to the last Monday of May. This year’s holiday falls on May 26, 2014.
Arlington National Cemetery remains strong
During the week of Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division place flags on the more than 250,000 graves there. And on the holiday itself, many people gather to see the president or vice president give a speech and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.