#Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, originated after the Civil War ended in 1865, resulting in the loss of over 62,000 lives. The first national celebration of the holiday took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. In many American towns, the day is celebrated with a parade. However, it didn’t become a Federal holiday 'til 1971 when federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended the honor to all soldiers who died in American wars. It’s observed to honor the men and women who died whilst serving in the U.S Military - those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and me.
Whilst the first commemorative Memorial Day events weren’t held in the U.S til the late 19th century, the practice of honoring the fallen dates back to 431 B.C. in Greece.
Being that Memorial Day is also recognized as the first day of summer, many Americans will be involved with hiking, barbecuing and of course the Indy 500. Today, national observance of the holiday still takes place at Arlington National Cemetery with the placing of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the decoration of each grave with a small American flag. Officially, our flag should be flown at half-staff until noon (local), then raised to top-staff.
This coming Monday 5/27, however you choose to celebrate our most somber of holidays, please be careful, be safe and be thankful.