A Short History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is held annually on the last Monday of May. It is America's favorite federal holiday as it is an official start of the summer season. Besides this, it is also an emotional holiday for many people because this day honors the fallen soldiers of the US Army. The history of this day dates back to the 19th century and is more complex than it appears.

No one is sure when and where the first Memorial-Day was held. It is documented but many towns throughout the country began celebrating their dead after the end of Civil War in 1865. Towns from North and South participated in this annual tradition. It was soon known as the 'Decoration Day.' It got its name from the custom of decorating soldier's graves.

Waterloo, New York was one town that became famous for its celebration of Decoration Day. Its residents started this tradition in 1866 holding it for a long time every year at the same date. On 1868, Decoration Day became a national event when Gen John Logan declared its value for the entire nation. The first official Decoration Day was held on 30 May 1868.

In 1967, Decoration Day officially became a Memorial Day despite its name was used since the end of 10th century and was popular after the Second World War. After a year, Memorial Day became a 'uniform' holiday and was declared to be held on the last Monday of May instead of May 30. The underlying principle was for three important federal holidays to provide America with a long weekend every year.

Like many holidays, time has somehow lessened the historical importance of Memorial Day in people's minds. The US government still holds a service every year to commemorate its fallen soldiers. The ceremony is traditionally held every year in Arlington Military Cemetery which is attended by thousands of people. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is particularly honored and the nation is addressed by the President.

At present, Americans observe Memorial Day not only to commemorate the fallen Civil War veterans but also to honor all American soldiers who laid their lives in war. On the same hand, Memorial Day still remains more than just a day off from work for Americans. This holiday is also a fun day for celebrating the arrival of warmer weather.


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