Here is the complete history of Memorial Day, from its origin to how and why we celebrate it.
What Was the Original Purpose of Memorial Day?
General John A. Logan, leader of the Northern Civil War veterans organization, called for a nationwide remembrance on 30th May 1868 to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. Following the Confederate Memorial Day started by the freed slaves of South Carolina in Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Confederate Memorial Day is still celebrated in many parts of America on different days though conflict of interest arose after the Emanuel AME Church massacre in 2015.
When Did Memorial Day Start?
- A. 5th May 1865
- B. 5th May 1868
- C. 30th May 1865
- D. 30th May 1868
Origin of Memorial Day
Originally known as Decoration Day, as mentioned by General Logan, the origin of Memorial Day is uncertain. Until World War Ⅰ, Memorial Day was celebrated on different days in different states. Later in 1971, Congress passed a Uniform Monday Holiday Act pushing the holiday to the last Monday of May, giving a three-day holiday to federal employees. Memorial Day was observed nationwide to honor the comrades who died in the Civil War, World Wars, Vietnam, Korean, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars.
How Was Memorial Day Started?
America has fought and won many wars in its history. Unlike the other wars, the Civil War of 1865 claimed many lives, creating a need for a national cemetery. A few years down the road, many Americans started visiting the cemetery from across the country to pay their tributes to the fallen souls by holding remembrances, prayers and decorated the graves with flowers.
Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?
Each year a national remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. To honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives by defending the nation. People visit cemeteries or memorials and participate in parades, and some even throw parties and barbeques as it is the official beginning of summer.