Memorial day is a day of remembrance for all the fallen troops that have rendered the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom and the willingness to fight for a greater cause! American Legion Post 0275 would like to present a few facts as well as ways to honor the fallen today!
More than 1 million men and women who have lost their lives defending America in wars from the Revolution to the global war on terrorism will be remembered on Memorial Day. Flags will be placed at gravesites, ceremonies and parades will be held, and many more events will occur nationwide to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
In honor of Memorial Day, here are some things you may not know about the holiday.
1. Originally Called Decoration Day
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Gen. John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, called for a day of remembrance on May 30, 1868, "for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion." Nearly 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in the Civil War.
2. The First Day of Known Celebration
On the first Decoration Day in 1868, Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, where 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. (via history.com)
3. Original Place of Memorial Day Celebration
In 1966, Congress declared Waterloo, N.Y., the official birthplace of Memorial Day for being the first town to celebrate the holiday 100 years prior. Waterloo, which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866, was chosen because it hosted an annual event where residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flags and flowers. (via history.com)
4. Federally Observed Origins
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, instead of May 30, in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. (via history.com)
5. National Monument of Remembrance (Moment of Silence)
On Dec. 28, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which asks Americans to pause on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time for one minute to honor those who died protecting America’s rights and freedoms. (via time.com)
6. American Flags Flown Half-Mast Until Noon
On Memorial Day, the U.S. flag should be displayed at half-staff from sunrise until noon, then raised to the top at full staff until sunset. (via legion.org)
7. Perfect Bloom Season To Show Respect In
In May 1868 — three years following the end of the Civil War — Maj. Gen. John A. Logan (who was the head of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union vets) declared that the holiday should be observed at the end of May. He chose the date in part because it didn’t fall on the same day as the anniversary of any particular battle. But it’s also thought that he chose that date because flowers would be blooming all around America. So the blooms would be abundantly available for decorating soldiers’ graves, according to VA.gov.
8. Red Poppy Is Symbol of Memorial Flower of Remembrance
Red poppies are to be worn the Friday before Memorial Day. The red poppy is a nationally recognized symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since World War I to honor those who served and died for our country in all wars. The American Legion brought National Poppy Day® to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day. After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. The red poppy came to symbolize the bloodshed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines. (via legion.org)
9. National Memorial Day Concert
Performed on the west lawn of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the National Memorial Day Concert is also held to pay tribute to fallen US soldiers. Attended by more than half a million people at the venue, the concert can be watched by US military personnel all over the world. https://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/
10. Rolling Thunder Riders
They ride into DC in a patriotic display in order to honor our veterans, and also to remember those lost or missing soldiers from our nation's conflicts. These heroes from across North America that ride into town for this annual event represent all types of their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, firefighters, rescue personnel, and law enforcement officers and make the event especially memorable for riders and spectators. This is something uniquely American...this is Rolling To Remember.