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Memorial Day
Federal
Today we remember!

When: Last Monday of May

Where: United States

Traditional Celebration Ideas

Moments of silence.  Cemetery visits.  Wreath laying and speeches to honor specific battles or events that occurred during war.  Remembering the sacrifices made by the men and women of the United States military that have served to ensure our freedom.

Numbers

Since the 1860's there have been over 400,000 people buried at Arlington National Cemetery. According to AAA,  36 million people are projected to travel over 50 miles from their home during this holiday.

Description

Memorial Day is a time when we remember that freedom isn't free and to honor the members of the military that have died during service to our great nation.  The origins of the holiday can be a little confusing because during the civil war, many states began decorating the graves sites of fallen soldiers and holding speeches and events for commemoration.  On May 5th, 1868, the commander in chief of the grand army of the republic ( an organization for Union Civil War veterans ) General John Logan proclaimed  that to honor soldiers that have died in battle, a day of remembrance should be observed annually and named "Decoration Day".  Many scholars disagree on the actual birthplace or who the credit should be given to for the official origin of the holiday.  Right or wrong, on May 26, 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson designated Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of the holiday and said that it began in that city 100 years prior.  Today, in addition to the those that died during the civil war, many fallen soldiers are remembered for their sacrifices made during wars fought in Europe, Vietnam and the Middle East.  The holiday is now also often referred to as the unofficial start to summer in the United States.

Interesting Facts

  1. Confederate Memorial Day is still the official title of the holiday in Virginia.
  2. Decoration was the original name of the holiday.
  3. It is believed that the holiday was originally chosen to be on May 30th because it did not commemorate any major known battle.
  4. In the beginning the holiday was only supposed to honor civil war veterans who died.
  5. It's tradition that either the President or Vice President of the United States give a speech on this day.

Information

Observed:
  • Last Monday of May
Next Dates: