Memorial Day, in the United States, is a way of celebrating those who have given their lives while serving in the country’s military service. Memorial Day used to be celebrated on May 30th, but is now celebrated on the last Monday of May. Many Americans celebrate by visiting cemeteries or memorials. Many also hold family gatherings or watch parades. Memorial day also marks the beginning of the summer season.
America created its first national cemetery after the civil war, which ended in the spring of 1865. By the late 1860’s, Americans began holding tributes to the soldiers who had died. This involved putting flowers on their graves and reciting prayers. In 1966, the Federal Government declared Waterloo, NY to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo first celebrated Memorial Day on May 5, 1866. Waterloo celebrated by hosting a community-wide event, during this time, businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, who was the leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a national day of remembrance later that month called Decoration Day. The date of Decoration Day, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, at the first Decoration Day and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and made it an annual tradition. By 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday.
Memorial Day originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But, during World War I, the United States was involved in another major conflict. This resulting in the holiday commemorating American military personnel who died in all wars.
For several decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on the day Logan picked for Decoration Day, May 30. However, in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, making Memorial Day the last Monday in May. This created a three-day weekend for all federal employees. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
Over the years, Americans have celebrated Memorial Day by hosting parades that include military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials or take weekend trips or throw parties.
Here at Everyone Loves Buttons we would like to thank all of our veterans who have fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Citizens of the United States.
Wishing you and your families a Happy Memorial Day!