Memorial Day is a holiday that celebrates fallen soldiers and is usually held at the end of May. Here are 5 interesting facts about Memorial Day.
1. Was once called “Decoration Day.”
On May 5, 1868 the head of an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day. This was a day where they decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and flags. In 1966, almost 100 years later, President Lyndon Johnson declared that the true first “Memorial Day” happened in Waterloo, New York on May 5, two years before the “Decoration Day”. It was decided that this was the official first one because the entire town had closed their businesses on this day so everyone could decorate the graves of all fallen Civil War soldiers.
2. 3 p.m. is a very important time.
Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance. It’s stated that at 3 pm local time on Memorial Day all Americans should pause what they are doing and have a moment of silence for a whole minute. During this moment of silence it’s suggested that people should remember everyone who died while serving our country.
3. A long standing tradition with flags.
The original Memorial Day saw flags being placed on each fallen soldier’s grave at the Arlington National Cemetery. This tradition has since taken place every Memorial Day after at many national cemeteries. Many people will put American flags up at home as well.
4. After World War I all fallen soldiers were included.
Originally it was meant to be a holiday to celebrate just the fallen soldiers from the Civil War. As time went on, especially after World War I, it shifted to include all fallen soldiers from all wars. Most importantly over time what also shifted was honoring women as well as men. This was of course because over time women started enlisting.
5. Didn’t become an official holiday until 1971.
Memorial Day didn’t officially become a national holiday until 1971 when Congress declared it as such. There is no official exact number date for Memorial Day but it is held on the last Monday of May every year. Some schools follow the schedule of starting school on Labor Day and ending school on Memorial Day. Besides honoring fallen soldiers Memorial Day has also become a day where many people participate in Summer activities, such as barbequing and swimming.