Whether you’re commemorating Memorial Day by attending the graves of fallen soldiers, having a cookout at the beach, or this year, lying at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, most of us actually don’t know very much about what the holiday is truly about or where the holiday started. In this article, we will tell you all about when, why, and how did it start.
When is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day was witnessed on May 30 from 1868 until 1970 but is now observed every year on the last Monday in May.
What is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is recognized as a national holiday in the United States in which we acknowledge and grieve members of the military who have passed while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This is not to be mixed with Veterans Day.
How did it start?
Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day started with an opinion from General John Logan, as a way to admire the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. The first anniversary on May 30, 1868, was held at Arlington National Cemetery with masses of 5,000 people renovating the graves of over 20,000 military personnel with flowers. Many also came equipped with a barbecue lunch. The practice has since been developed to commemorate the departed soldiers of any and all of the wars.
Why was Memorial Day a cause for conflict in some states?
New York was the first state to announce Memorial Day an official holiday followed by other northern states, but the southern states had their own designated day to praise fallen Confederate soldiers. The practices remained different until the conclusion of World War I when it was adapted to venerating the fallen Americans who fought in any war.
In 1971, the date of the holiday was properly adjusted to the last Monday in May per the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This act also moved other holidays such as President’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day to consistently be on Mondays. Some southern states continue to accept the Confederate dead: January 19 in Texas; April 22 in Alabama and Georgia; April 26 in Florida; April 29 in Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.