Celebrate Your Memorial Day

Celebrate Your Memorial Day

The holiday to remember.

Memorial Day. The unofficial beginning of summer. A day for backyard barbecues, beach days, and a well-needed day off for many of us.

That is not how Americans celebrated Memorial Day at first. It was a more solemn celebration with parades, services and visiting a military family member's grave.

 

Why does the U.S. have Memorial Day?

It started as a day to remember the lives lost during the Civil War.

Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day. It began with women laying flowers on -- decorating -- fallen soldiers' graves. Laying flowers or scattering petals on graves. After the war ended in April 1865, lawmakers called for official observances.

Several cities claim the title of hosting the first post-war Memorial Day service. Some have held annual observances since shortly after the war ended.

Formerly enslaved people organized one of the first, less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered, in Charleston, South Carolina. The horse racing track there was converted into an outdoor military prison during the war. An estimated 250 Union Soldiers died there. According to contemporary newspaper stories, ten thousand people marched there on May 1, 1865, in tribute to those who died.

There was no consensus on honoring the dead in a nation still divided. While many Northern states picked days in May, Southern states held observances in the fall.

In 1868, General John A. Logan, the Northern Civil War veteran organization leader, called for a day of remembrance on May 30. It remained on that day until 1971.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Memorial Day and other federal holidays to Mondays -- creating three-day weekends for many Americans. The Act also enshrined Labor Day and Washington's Birthday/Presidents Day as Monday holidays, made Columbus Day a national holiday, and temporarily moved Veteran's Day.

Some veteran groups did not like the change. They felt as though moving Memorial Day for a long weekend diluted its significance.

What does your community do for Memorial Day? Does it host ceremonies at cemeteries or salutes at Veteran's Memorials? Is there a parade or another community event? These events continue to memorialize the veterans who died preserving American rights.

For you, is the day about spending time with family and friends? Whether you go to a beach or a BBQ on Memorial Day, celebrate the ones you love while doing it.

Logotech encourages everyone to enjoy their Memorial Day, whatever it means to you.