Happy Memorial Day! Today is much more than just barbecues, sales, and a day off. We often forget that Memorial Day was created as a memorial for all those who’ve died in protecting our country. Here’s what else you may not know about Memorial Day.
The precursor to Memorial Day was “Decoration Day” which was founded by Civil War veterans. Most believe it was founded in Waterloo, NY. Decoration day was first founded on May 30th, 1868 in Arlington Cemetery.
It wasn’t until 1971 that is was passed as a National holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Prior to the “Uniform Monday Act,” Memorial Day was on May 30th. Congress changed it to the last Monday so that federal workers could get a three day weekend.
In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the an act called “The National Moment of Remembrance.” Under this act, we are all encouraged to hold a moment of silence at 3pm. (They didn’t specify in what time zone.)
Memorial Day pays tribute to the approximately 1.2 million American servicemen casualties since the American Revolution (approximately 4400 deaths) to Operation Enduring Freedom (approx. 2200 casualties.)
Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is the hub of all memorial activities. Arlington is the United States’ largest military cemetery and is one of the largest cemeteries in the world at 624 acres. About 300,000 servicemen are buried there. The grounds is the former land of the Confederate Civil War General, Robert E. Lee.
Other fun facts:
Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer.
Western fashion etiquette decrees that one can only wear white between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Memorial Day is the second most popular grilling day. (The first is the Fourth of July.)