My father did a good job reminding my brothers and I as we were growing up that Memorial Day was about much more than a day off from school. Now that I’m on my own, I want to make that day special, too. I decided I wanted to learn more about the holiday, and I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned from my research.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor those killed during the Civil War. In the years following the war, towns began their own remembrances in the springtime, some closing their businesses, hosting parades, and decorating the graves of those who were lost. States started declaring their own official Decoration Days.
As the U.S. fought more wars, Congress saw fit to create a day that honored all who had been lost in military conflicts, not just the Civil War. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and created Memorial Day as a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. There is actually a designated time for rememberance – 3:00 p.m. local time. Flags are typically flown at half-mast until noon.
I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe weekend. May we all pause at some point on Monday and think about the men and women who gave so unselfishly for our country.
“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” – Minot J. Savage