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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day ~ History

The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are decorated by
U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May.[1] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. (Southern ladies organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May.) By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2] As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.[3]

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.[4]

Notes:

1.      ^ 36 U.S.C. § 116

2.      ^ "Memorial Day". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www1.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/. Retrieved 2010-05-28.


4.      ^ Matthew Dennis, Red, White, and Blue Letter Days: An American Calendar (2002)

Source: Wikipedia
Our Pastor reminded us this weekend that this holiday is not about BBQs, but remembering our fallen military personnel - those heroes from all service branches who gave their lives so we can live in freedom.  When I researched for this post I was surprised that I had either forgotten or never knew the origin of this important day ~ the last Monday in May.  Our freedom definitely is not free and I am so thankful to all of the brave men and women who serve for me and my family!  Thank you to all Veterans!

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6 comments:

  1. Loved this post. I loves reading and learning more about this special holiday...it is not just a long weekend is it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melody-Mae - No, it has a very special meaning and I love that we honor our military this way.
      Hugs, GraceinAZ

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  2. I didn't realize until I was grown that it was a holiday that was really started for service people. I always thought it was just as a remembrance for all those that passed. xo Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diana - Same here. Everyone we knew visited family at cemetaries, whether they were veterans or not.
      Hugs, GraceinAZ

      Delete
  3. Thank you to all of the Veterans! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding your thanks to our thanks!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ

      Delete

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