Memorial Day - some history!
A United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of
remembrance for those who have died in military service for the United
Many cities have laid claim to have begun Memorial Day, though
President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo N.Y. as the
birthplace of Memorial Day in May 1966.
While there is some dispute as to the origin of the day, the first was
observed on May 30, 1868, under proclamation by General John Logan,
national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The first
official observation involved placing flowers on the graves of Union
and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South
refused to acknowledge the day, honouring their dead on separate days
until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honouring just
those who died fighting in the Civil War to honouring Americans who
died fighting in any war).
Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 up to 1971 when the National
Holiday Act of 1971, designated the last Monday in May to be Memorial
Since the late 1950’s, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the
1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at
each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National
Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure
that each flag remains standing.
Memorial Day was moved from the traditional May 30 date to the last
Monday in May as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968.
Since 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day,
the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of
approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg
and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
What's the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?
Memorial Day is intended to commemorate those who have laid down their
lives for U.S. national defence, whereas
all who have served their country.