Memorial Day: An Important Day of Recognition & Remembrance
Many people think of Memorial Day as the unofficial start to Summer, a day for barbecues and outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Some actually think of this national holiday as a day of remembrance for military service members who sacrificed their lives to protect our country. And some think of it as both. But, most probably don’t stop to wonder about the origins of this holiday. Read on to learn more about this important day of recognition.
The exact origins of Memorial Day are unknown. However, it is widely believed that it began as Decoration Day. At the end of the Civil War, John A. Logan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of Republic, chose May 30, 1868, as a day to decorate the graves of Union troops across the nation (Memorial Day: A Commemoration | National Archives).
While many Americans took part in Decoration Day, it wasn’t until after World War I that “the custom of using Memorial Day to honor all American veterans who gave their lives in sacrifice to our nation” became commonplace (The Nation’s Sacrifice: The Origins and Evolution of Memorial Day – Pieces of History (archives.gov).
Memorial Day Becomes an Official, National Holiday
It took many more years for Memorial Day to become a federal holiday. In 1968, President Johnson signed a law designating the last Monday in May as Memorial Day, a federal holiday. The first one was observed in 1971 (The Nation’s Sacrifice: The Origins and Evolution of Memorial Day – Pieces of History (archives.gov).
Observing this Important Holiday
On this federal holiday, the nation remembers and recognizes soldiers who lost their lives protecting the United States. Traditions range from barbecues and parades to more solemn events, like “the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, religious services, and the placement of flags, insignia, and flowers on the graves of veterans” (Memorial Day | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica).
Superior Plus Propane wishes you and your loved ones a Happy Memorial Day and hopes that you take a moment on this day to express your appreciation for the military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.
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