When you hear the phrase “Memorial Day,” what comes to mind? If you think of barbecues, picnics, and sporting events, you should know that the holiday also has a rich history dating all the way back to the Civil War. To learn more about this historically significant summer holiday, keep reading.
History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a federal holiday that commemorates soldiers who died serving the United States. People often confuse it with Veterans Day, a federal holiday that recognizes men and women who have served in the United States military. However, Veterans Day is celebrated regardless of whether they lost their lives during service. This year, Memorial Day will be on Monday, May 28.
The holiday began in the years following the Civil War. At the time, there was a tradition of leaving flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. In May 1858, General John A. Logan issued a decree saying that May 30 should be a national holiday. This day would be to commemorate all soldiers who died during the Civil War. He called it “Decoration Day.” The year following Logan’s declaration, twenty-seven states held a ceremony on May 30. More than 5,000 people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to remember the soldiers who lost their lives.
By 1890, every former Union state had adopted May 30 as an official holiday. Still, it was not until World War I that the holiday was expanded to commemorate all fallen soldiers instead of just those who died during the Civil War. When Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, Memorial Day was moved from May 30 – its traditional celebration date – to the last Monday in May. Finally, during the Vietnam War, Memorial Day became an official national holiday.
Celebrating Memorial Day
On Memorial Day, flags in every state (and Puerto Rico) fly at half-staff. Americans celebrate by hosting parades all over the country. The biggest parade takes place in Washington, DC. Additionally, at 3:00 PM local time, every state observes a National Moment of Remembrance. To learn about Memorial Day events happening in Maryland, click here.
We hope that this blog post has inspired you to think about those who have given their lives for our freedom. Be sure to spend some time lounging by the Center Pointe pool (which opens this Saturday!) while reflecting on the history of this special day.
Live in the center of it all at Center Pointe! Located in Waldorf, MD, our residents have easy access to excellent libraries in addition to shopping, entertainment, and great schools. Reach out to us today to schedule a tour and see why we are a Top Rated apartment community on ApartmentRatings!