Most of us know that Memorial Day is a day set aside to observe and remember those who gave their lives in service of this beautiful country of ours. But how many of us fully understand the history of the day? I’m guessing it’s a smaller number.
Memorial Day always occurs on the last Monday of May and was officially recognized as a holiday in 1971. But did you know that the commemoration originally began soon after the end of the Civil War, and at first was known as Decoration Day?
Why? After such an enormous loss of life during the War between the States, several organizations wanted to recognize the sacrifices made by their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. An effort began in the spring to decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers. This still takes place today. While history is unclear about where exactly this began, in 1966, the government named Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
So however you celebrate; whether it be a parade, a graveside service, planting flowers in memory of your loved ones and ancestors, or having a picnic with family and friends; please take a moment to remember and embrace the freedom we have been gifted.