Five Facts About Memorial Day
Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who died while serving in the United States military.
Memorial Day originated in the days after the Civil War and was originally known as Decoration Day. Here are five facts about this holiday:
- After the Civil War, Americans began holding tributes to the fallen dead in springtime. According to the History Channel, Waterloo, N.Y. is the official birthplace of Memorial Day having first celebrated the day in 1866.
- Memorial Day was once called Decoration Day due to the tradition of decorating the graves of fallen dead with flowers.
- By 1890, all of the Northern states had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states continue to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.
- Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971. The act establishing the holiday also specified Memorial Day would be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
- Several Southern states, including Georgia, also celebrate Confederate Memorial Day. In Georgia, the holiday is April 26.