Celebrated during the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is meant to honor the patriotic activities of United States Soldiers. The day of remembrance honors the men and women who gave their lives defending the U.S. but there’s more to the tradition than you may realize.
Memorial day was original started only to honor the soldiers who fell during the countries Civil War, however as more wars broke out the holiday was extended to include the Spanish-American War, both World Wars, Vietnam, Desert Storm and our current wars in the Middle East.
The holiday became so popular that in 1971 the Federal Government declared it a national holiday and the practice soon came to remember loved ones who have passed away along with soldiers who have died protecting their country. Soon flags were placed on graves with flowers to remember our loved ones and parades were started to offer celebration.
Did you know that the “birthplace” of memorial day is considered to be Waterloo, N.Y.? It was on May 5, 1866 that the first rememberance day was initiated by residence fo Waterloo to celebrate the lives of the men and women who died during the Civil War. Businesses were closed and the practices of placing flowers and flags on graves of soliders was started. The city on that day also flew the flag at half-mast.
It was two years later when Major General John A. Logan officially declared May 30 a day of remembrance.
Northerners may also not be aware that during the last Monday in April a “Confederate Memorial Day” is witnessed by many to remember dead fallen confederate soldiers, however all soldiers in the United States are also recognized during National Memorial Day events.
Memorial Day will continue to include more soldiers from more wars and it’s important that we remember the efforts they made to keep our freedoms and lives safe from opposing forces.