As a country, we know Memorial day as a day to honor and mourn those who died in battle while serving in the U.S Military. There is much history behind Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, that some of us do not know about and was presented by History Channel.
Before it was Memorial Day, Americans celebrated Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War. In 1971, it was officially named a federal holiday observed by Americans by visiting cemeteries or memorials and holding family gatherings or participating in parades. Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer season.
The Civil War claimed more lives than any other conflict in U.S history requiring and establishing the first national cemeteries, which then encouraged Americans from all over to hold tributes in Spring for fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and holding prayers for them. This tradition began in 1865 and was named by General John A. Logan in 1868 as Decoration Day to be held on May 30th every year. He chose that date as it was not the anniversary of any battle.
As the United States started seeing itself in more conflicts throughout history, Decoration Day shifted from only honoring those who died during the Civil War to honoring those who died in all wars and later known as Memorial Day. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that established Memorial day to be the last Monday in May to purposely create a three day weekend for federal employees which went into effect in 1971.
Unofficially marking the beginning of Summer, Memorial Day is celebrated by honoring our fallen heros with barbeques, parties, visiting cemeteries and memorials.