Monday, May 25, 2009
Happy Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a patriotic holiday in the United States of America, usually celebrated on the last Monday in May.
It is a celebration of remembrance for the brave service of men and women who gave their lives for their country. Originally, Memorial Day honored those who had died in the Civil War. Now, it honors those who died in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and Desert Storm.
Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971. We now designate this day to remember loved ones who have passed on, as well as remembering our service men and women. Flowers and flags are placed on graves in remembrance of them. Parades and dedications of memorials usually are part of the day's activities. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, local marching bands, members of the armed service, fire departments, police departments, and fraternal orders often march in parades and attend ceremonies to commemorate the day.
Waterloo, N.Y. is considered the birthplace of this holiday because the people of Waterloo were the first people to proclaim a day on May 5, 1866 to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War. They closed their businesses and placed flowers and flags on the graves of their soldiers. Flags were flown at half-mast.
Major General John A. Logan declared May 30, 1868 as a special day for honoring Union soldiers killed in battle. He was Commander in Chief of an organization of Union Civil War Veterans called the Grand Army of the Republic. They took charge of Memorial Day celebrations in the Northern States. The American Legion took over these duties after World War I.