History Of Memorial Day In The United States: Federal Holiday Facts

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
May 28, 2024 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Dec 16, 2021
The habit of placing flowers on soldiers

Memorial day, a countrywide holiday in the United States of America is observed on the occasion of the US armed personnel who lost their lives by sacrificing themselves for the country.

Memorial Day is celebrated on the 31st of every year. Americans across the states pay their respects to the memorial by visiting the military cemeteries and memorials.

Memorial Day, also formerly known as decoration day, is a federal holiday in the United States of America. This dignified and ceremonious day is dedicated to all the men and women (fallen soldiers) who served the US military and gave their lives fighting for their country.

Memorial day's origins first date back to 1868 (aftermath of the civil war), where the general of the grand army of the republic, John A. Logan coined this particular day to be called Decoration Day; which went quite popular among the people and was accepted across the country soon.

By the time of 1890, almost every northern state in the US had officially adopted decoration day as a holiday.

Although first created to honor the soldiers who fought in the civil war it was later lengthened to include all the martyrs who died in all of the wars.

The name Memorial Day was officially systematized in 1791 by the United States Congress. This particular countrywide holiday was observed on May 30 formerly from 1868-1970. But after the standardization by Congress, it is noticed on May 31 every year. The federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966.

So come on then without any further delay let us learn some more about this solemn holiday. Afterwards, also check facts about the highest law of the land and Hawaii state flower facts.

Significance Of Memorial Day In The United States

On Memorial Day, many people stop by the cemeteries and memorials to remember and grieve those who died while in the United States military for the memorial day celebrations. In the United States, the Memorial Day holiday is also regarded as the candid and unique start of the summer season.

The habit of placing flowers on soldiers' graves is a long-standing tradition. Soldiers' graves in the United States were decorated both before and during the American Civil War.

The gravestones are decorated with US Flags on memorial day weekend for the confederate soldiers.

A recently released report suggested that African Americans who are living in South Carolina and Charleston, participated in a 10,000 person march on May 1, 1865, to commemorate and honor 257 dead union soldiers.

After World War II, the name "Memorial Day" progressively became more popular than "Decoration Day," but it was not proclaimed the official name by federal law until 1967.

Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act on June 28, 1968, relocated four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their usual dates to a specific Monday in order to establish a convenient three-day weekend. A confederate memorial day is held for the confederate soldiers (civil war soldier's grave or northern civil war veterans who took care of the veterans' affairs).

A group of women from Columbus, Georgia, according to the United States National Park Service and other experts, is credited with starting the Memorial Day tradition in the South.

The ladies were members of the Columbus Ladies Memorial Association.

Mary Ann Williams was the one who was representing them, as a secretary discharged a letter to the United States press in March 1866, requesting help in establishing an annual holiday for decorating soldiers' graves across the South. People visit cemeteries to observe memorial day which is an official federal holiday.

Until 1968 memorial day was not declared as an official state holiday. Flags, during this day, are hoisted at half-mast to pay respects to the soldiers

Events In Memorial Day In The United States

On the occasion of commemorating the service of the fallen soldiers, memorial day in the United States is celebrated by conducting parades and giving speeches and by carrying out religious services. People all over the US undertake various activities to pay respects to the war hero on the federal holiday.

Activities like parades and ceremonies with BBQ’s special dinners are common. Another popular trend also involves buying poppies (a red color flower), decorating the American flag, and many more.

The above-mentioned activities are also a century-old tradition that has been taking place. The speeches rendered by the people involve a statement of gratitude, saying thank you to the men of courage who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Some of the memorial day events are Arlington National Cemetery (parades, speeches, public gathering), National Memorial Day Concert (aired on PBS), National Memorial Day Parade, Ancestry Memorial Day Parade.

Unique start of the summer season

How do many towns in the United States celebrate memorial day?

Memorial Day celebration in the United States varies across towns and cities where even federal employees participate in parades.

There are some customary protocols involving the occasion of memorial day, for example saying Happy memorial day is considered to be disrespectful since it is not a celebration but funeral tributes to fallen soldiers in the Confederate War.

There are of course many other ways to commemorate memorial day, like thanking a fellow veteran, participating in the national moment of remembrance, decorating the flag, visiting and paying your respects to the fallen soldiers' graves, organizing family gatherings, and attending a ceremony.

What was the original name of memorial day in the united states?

Originally known as the decoration day (a term coined by General John Logan in 1868) the US Congress changed the name to Memorial day in 1971.

Memorial Day is a statutory national holiday in the United States commemorating the deaths of American military personnel working in the armed forces. In the month of May, it is commemorated. From 1868-1970, it was observed on May 30.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy!

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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