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A Brief Memorial Day History Lesson

Posted Jun 09 2010 1:05am
Given that Memorial Day is almost here, some may wonder just what Memorial Day history consisted of. You may want to know how it came about, how it was made official, so on and so forth. So before all of us head off to the lake, here's the scoop on Memorial Day.

Resource for this article: A brief Memorial Day history lesson

Memorial Day history starts with the Civil War

It wasn’t really called Memorial Day at first. Accounts differ on when the first observance of it is type took place, but it is for certain that people started decorating the graves of Civil War dead right following the war ended during a day of remembrance. Initially, it was really called Decoration Day, not probably the most imaginative of names. (No one can come up with an interesting name for a holiday in this country. Maybe some money now should get raised for an exploratory study for some new names for our holidays with panache.)

Got the attention of veterans

An observance of Decoration Day on May 5, 1866, in the town of Waterloo, New York got the attention of two retired Army Generals, John Logan and John Murray. John Logan, as it turns out, was the head of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization for Civil War veterans. (The group was later absorbed into the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.) On May 5, 1868, they announced that on May 30 they would observe a Decoration Day, and urged others to do the same. The Southern states usually weren't receptive as they had a significant case of sour grapes.

Memorial Day becomes official

Memorial Day didn't get declared an official holiday until 1967. To make things easier for every person, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which fixed Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Columbus Day, and Washington's Birthday, later to become Presidents Day, on specified Mondays. Malcontents, especially among veterans organizations, have been petitioning to get it moved back to May 30 ever given that. Monday, May 31, will be Memorial Day 2010.

Read more on this topic here

Memorial Day

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