Which is it: Decoration Day or Memorial Day?
No matter which answer you chose — you are correct! There is no wrong option as this day has been called both Decoration Day and Memorial Day. Check how the five “W”s (Who, What Where, When and Why) to learn your basis Memorial Day facts.
WHO declared this a holiday?
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance to occur later that month to honor men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. This holiday originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.
WHY change the name?
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
WHAT traditions are carried out?
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Many people celebrate with parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.
WHERE/WHEN did this all begin?
In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo, which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866, was chosen because it hosted an annual community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
We will leave you with this – #DIDYOUKNOW that each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time?