Memorial Day is typically a day for spending time with family and enjoying the warm weather. However, with all of these festivities, it can be easy to forget why we’re really celebrating. Here’s a quick history about the holiday:
- The day was first celebrated in 1868, originally called “Decoration Day”, a day to decorate the graves of soldiers that died fighting in the Civil War.
- According to legend, May 30th was chosen because it was a rare day that didn’t fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle. Other historians believe the date was selected to ensure that flowers across the country were in full bloom.
- Memorial Day wasn’t officially recognized nationwide until 1971. America was deeply involved in the Vietnam War and President Richard Nixon declared the last Monday in May a federal holiday to remember soldiers that had been killed in action in every war.
- In 2000, U.S. Congress passed a legislation encouraging all Americans to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm local time each Memorial Day.
- The proper way to display the flag on Memorial Day is to lower it to half mast until noon, then raise it back to full mast for the rest of the day. This is to symbolize America’s ability to rise in the face of adversity and ensure no soldier has died in vain.
This Memorial Day, whether you decorate a grave or simply take part in the Moment of Remembrance, make time to honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.