A Brief History of Memorial Day

The History of Memorial Day

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Memorial Day, with its three-day weekend and bountiful warm weather, always carries an air of celebration and fun. And while it is a great time for family gatherings and parties, it’s also a day that carries great significance and weight. Memorial Day was established as an opportunity to give thanks and honor the men and women who have died while serving in our armed forces. To get a closer connection to the importance of this day, let’s trace its roots back through the history of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day Started after the Civil War

Though it was not officially recognized by the federal government until 1971, the tradition began after the brutal and traumatizing Civil War ended in the spring of 1865. The nation was reeling from the thousands of deaths, and towns began planning tributes to their fallen soldiers, often delivering flowers or reciting poetry and prayers at their graves. However, it’s also been suggested that this tradition was first begun by a group of freed slaves in Charleston less than a month after the south’s surrender, in an effort to thank the Union soldiers for their service and lives.

However it first came to be, Decoration Day got a more official start when General John A. Logan, the head of the group Northern Civil War Veterans, made a request that the US hold a nationwide day of remembrance. In his request, he also asked that the holiday be held on May 30th, primarily because no battle occurred on this day, leaving it open to celebrate any soldier dying during the Civil War. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he wrote.

From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

Though Decoration Day was initially established to honor the victims of the American Civil War, by the 20th century, our country found itself in several devastating and bloodied wars, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. The nation and its leaders began officially and unofficially using Memorial Day as a chance to remember the loss of any soldier or military personnel during any war.

For many years, the date of May 30th was used as the specific day for remembrance. However, in 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed by Congress, establishing Memorial Day as not only a federal holiday, but establishing it as the last Monday in May. This was done to establish a three-day weekend for employees of the federal government, although many businesses and organizations honor this holiday, too. The change was made permanent in 1971.

While Memorial Day is a time for somber reflection and remembrance of the people we and our country have lost to war, it is also a time to celebrate the living. The brave men and women who fight and serve in our military made these sacrifices so that we can continue to live free and brave. Keep in mind that there is a national moment of silence at 3:00 P.M. on Memorial Day, giving you a chance to pay respects alongside millions of other Americans. But, if you’re planning a barbeque, picnic, or block party, just remember that this is a day to remember the lives that made America possible.

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Leo LaGrotte
Life Settlement Advisors

Get in touch with Life Settlement Advisors today to take the first step toward converting your policy into cash.
Life Settlement Advisors
Leo LaGrotte
At Life Settlement Advisors, we strive to be a voice of confidence and assurance for our clients. Our goal is to educate you about the life settlement process so you can make an educated decision about whether it is right for you.

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