History and Facts Behind the Origin of Memorial Day

Eliza | 29 - 04 - 2021
Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed forces. This day is observed on the last Monday of May but formerly it was observed on May 30. 

Origin of Memorial Day

On May 5, 1868, three years after the civil war, A group of union veterans established a day called Decoration Day for the nation to decorate the graves of more than 620,000 soldiers who died in the recently ended war. The commander in chief Gen. John A.Logan set the date May 30 for the commemoration of the dead in the civil war and declared that it should be celebrated as Decoration Day. It is said that it was celebrated on a particular day because during this period flowers would be in bloom all over the country, though some believe Logan chose May 30 because the day didn’t fall on the anniversary of the Civil war.  

Decoration Day to Memorial Day 

During the 19th century, the day was commonly referred to as Memorial Day but the holiday was officially known as Decoration Day. The uniform Monday act of 1968 moved four holidays including memorial day, the traditional observance from May 30 to last Monday in May. The date was changed in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. 

The Memorial Day Was Initially Celebrated on
  • A. May 27
  • B. May 28
  • C. May 29
  • D. May 30

Memorial Day Origins and History Facts 

  • On Memorial Day, people visit cemeteries and memorials and place American flags on each grave. 
  • Before people used to celebrate this day in late summer as a part of family reunions and picnics. After the civil war, this day was celebrated as a secular and patriotic ceremony. 
  • Memorial Day observations include parades and speech at Arlington National Cemetery
  • During the first decoration day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery and Nearly 5000 people decorated the graves of the 20,000 civil war soldiers.

Where Did Memorial Day Originate

The birthplace of Memorial Day is unknown. Nearly 25 places claim to be in connection with the birthplace of Memorial Day. But recently the U.S Congress declared the tiny uphill village as the official birthplace of Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day is observed by visiting cemeteries or memorials and also by participating in parades. Some people also wear red poppies in remembrance of those who died in the war. 

Read Next