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A Quick History of Memorial Day

Authored By William DePaula

Memorial Day is an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May each year. It is a day to honor and remember the brave men and women who have died while serving in the United States military.

The origins of Memorial Day can be traced back to the years following the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. During the war, soldiers on both sides lost their lives in large numbers, and their graves were often left unmarked and forgotten. In an effort to honor these fallen soldiers, communities across the country began holding annual Decoration Day ceremonies.

The first recognized Decoration Day was held on May 30th, 1868, when General John A. Logan, leader of a veterans’ organization, declared that flowers be placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The event was attended by thousands of people, and the tradition continued to spread throughout the country.

In 1971, Memorial Day was officially recognized as a federal holiday and was moved to the last Monday in May as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law also established three-day weekends for federal employees and made Memorial Day the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

Today, Memorial Day is celebrated across the United States with parades, flag ceremonies, and the placing of wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers. It is a day to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who have served in the military and to remember the freedom and democracy they fought to protect.

In conclusion, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and reflection, commemorating the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in service to the United States. The holiday has a rich history that dates back to the Civil War, and its observance has become an important tradition in communities throughout the country.


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