why do we have memorial day off
Happy Memorial Day! If you're out of school and many of the adults around you are off work, there's a good chance you'll be
that many consider to be the start to summer. But what exactly is Memorial Day? Why do people celebrate on Memorial Day? What exactly are they remembering? Unlike, and even, which are celebrated by many people around the world, Memorial Day is an American. Observed on the last Monday of May each year, Memorial Day honors all the men and women who have died while serving in the United States. The was not always called Memorial Day. When it got its start just after the Civil War, it was originally known as Decoration Day. Decoration Day began as a way to the number of brave soldiers who had lost their lives in the Civil War. The Civil War devastated the United States, and shortly after its end, communities around the country started holding springtime memorials to the many soldiers who died during the. People would gather together to pray and place flowers and flags on their graves. Although these tributes likely began simultaneously in many different communities, the U. S. government declared Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966.
Waterloo had first held a memorial celebration for soldiers on May 5, 1866. The push for a nationwide day of came from General John A. Logan, who was the leader of a group of Northern Civil War veterans. The first Decoration Day took place on May 30, 1868, when over 5,000 people decorated the graves of over 20,000 soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. As years passed and more wars occurred, the eventually became known as Memorial Day. It also evolved beyond its Civil War-roots into a of all men and women who died while serving in the. The continued to be celebrated on May 30 for many years. Then, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Act, which defined Memorial Day as an annual federal to be observed on the last Monday in May each year. The law took effect in 1971, and Memorial Day has been the last Monday in May ever since. Memorial Day celebrations take many forms across the country. Many cities hold parades to honor veterans who lost their lives in service to their country.
These parades often feature current, as well as members of veterans' organizations. Large Memorial Day parades take place in Washington, D. C. , and. Many Americans also take time on Memorial Day to visit and memorials. Decorating the graves of soldiers with flowers and American flags remains a popular on Memorial Day. Since the has also become associated with the start of summer and many people have a three-day because of Memorial Day, many people also have family gatherings, picnics, and barbecues. 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.
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