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why do we celebrate memorial day in america

It s easy to forget what Memorial Day actually means while you re sitting by the pool and looking ahead at summer vacation but the day signifies much more than just a three-day weekend. Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American armed forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead. It s unclear exactly where the holiday originated Charleston, S. C. , Waterloo, N. Y. , Columbus, Ga. and other towns all claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. The event in Charleston that may have precipitated the holiday offers poignant evidence of a country struggling to rebuild itself after a bloody war: 257 Union soldiers died in prison in Charleston during the Civil War and were buried in unmarked graves, and the town s black residents organized a May Day ceremony in which they landscaped a burial ground to properly honor the soldiers.

In the years following the Civil War, Memorial Day celebrations were scattered and, perhaps unsurprisingly, took root differently in the North and South. It wasn t until after World War II that the holiday gained a strong following and national identity, and it wasn t officially named Memorial Day until 1967. The final event that cemented the modern culture of Memorial Day in America was in 1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act, designating Memorial Day as the last Monday in May rather than May 30, as it had previously been observed.

This ensured a three-day weekend and gave the day its current status as the unofficial beginning of summer, mixing serious reflection with more lighthearted fun.
On Monday, May 30, the United States celebrates Memorial Day. P Americans have celebrated Memorial Day on May 30 for decades, but in 1971,Pthe U. S. In fact,P, which described the decoration of graves with flowers, wreathes and other remembrances of those lost to war. After WWII, Decoration Day gradually transitioned to Memorial Day with the official federal law in place in 1967.

P From U. S. Civil War Days Memorial Day originally honoredP. Some 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War making it the deadliest war in American history. P If you read the history of this holiday, you will find that women in Gettysburg, Penn. laid flowers on the graves of those who died in Gettysburg, shortly after the battle in 1864. The next year, women in Vicksburg, Miss. did the same for soldiers who had lost their lives. Then, in 1866, women in Columbus, Miss. honored both Union and Confederate dead by placing flowers on their graves. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, a Union hero, issued an order in 1868 setting May 30 as the day to honor those who died in the Civil War.

The National Moment of Remembrance President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on Dec. 28, 2000, designating 3 p. m. local time on Memorial Day as aP. since the Civil War. Many HIMSS members and HIMSS staff members, and members of their families, have served over the decades as members of the U. S. military. We honor them on this Memorial Day as well. Red poppies represent a symbol of remembrance, andP. On Monday at 3 p. m. , please take a moment to remember those who have served and those who have died to defend our country.

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