History of the Memorial Day Holiday
Most people understand that Memorial Day is more than just family outings and parades. It has a much deeper meaning. It is our opportunity as a Country to honor and remember those men and women who gave their lives in service. So, on the heels of this Memorial Day weekend, I thought it might be a good idea to provide some context on the origin of this sacred American tradition.
Memorial Day is officially observed on the last Monday in May. Originally, it was known as Decoration Day and started as a tradition of remembrance for only those lost while fighting in the American Civil War. On May 5, 1868, an organization of Civil War veterans Lead by General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance which ultimately occurred on May 30, 1868. For some time thereafter, Decoration Day would be continue to be celebrated on May 30th. In the early 1900’s, as a result of American losses in WWI, the holiday evolved to commemorate all American Military Personnel who died in all wars. Decoration Day eventually became Memorial Day and, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This act established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May thereby creating a 3-day weekend for Federal employees.
Memorial Day – Rooted in Memory
Overall, by whatever name it was known, Memorial Day has its roots in memory. General George S. Patton once said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” This Memorial Day we remember the sacrifices that these brave men and women have made for our freedom and, above all, we thank God that people with such character and courage have walked among us.