Remembering Memorial Day
For most Americans, Memorial Day is a day of picnics, of barbecues and baseball games. What's sometimes forgotten are the reasons for the holiday: The sacrifices made by American soldiers in times of war.
Originally, the holiday was known as "Decoration Day." It was started by a Civil War general named Gen. John Logan, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. General Logan sought a way to help the country come back together after the horrors and divide of the Civil War.
The holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, and Gen. Logan chose that date for two very important reasons: First, the day did not mark the anniversary of a Civil War battle, and second "flowers would likely be in bloom all over the United States." Indeed, many took flowers to Arlington National Cemetery, an activity that still occurs every year.
Memorial Day, despite having been around for over 100 years in one form or another, didn't become an official federal holiday until 1971, when Congress passed the National Holiday Act. This created a three-day weekend at the end of May. Prior to this, different states observed the holiday on different days.
National Moment of Remembrance
The National Moment of Remembrance, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, honor those who died for our freedom.
To honor all who fought, sacrificed and to the many who died, we honor you all.