Every year on the last Monday of May, Americans celebrate Memorial Day. On this day we have the day off to watch parades, wave American flags, and host barbecues in the warm weather. It can be easy to forget the true meaning of this holiday. The reason we are free to celebrate in the great country. Memorial Day has a rich history as one of our nation's oldest holidays.
Where did Memorial Day Come From?
After the Civil War, Americans began holding services to honor the countless lives lost. For years following, people gathered in the spring in the newly founded national cemeteries to honor family members and fellow American citizens who gave their lives. In 1966, Waterloo, New York was declared the birthplace of Memorial Day. This town hosted a community event every year to decorate the graves of soldiers. Until World War 1, Memorial Day mainly celebrated the lives lost during the Civil War. As American entered more turbulent times, we felt the need to honor all soldiers who gave their lives for our country. In 1971, Memorial Day officially became a Federal holiday.
Modern Memorial Day
Today, the holiday as we know it involves parades in nearly every city in America and memorial services held in cemeteries and town squares. A national moment of silence is held at 3 p.m. local time to remember and thank all soldiers who gave their lives defending our country. We are so thankful and forever indebted to these brave soldiers. It is due to their sacrifices that we have such freedoms in our country. This Memorial Day, take a minute to lay flowers or have a moment of silence at your holiday gathering.