Memorial Day’s Surprising Origins
Did you know that Memorial Day began as a remembrance for Union soldiers who lost their lives in the American Civil War (1861-1865)? After World War I, this federal holiday was changed to honor all men and women who lost their lives in any US military conflict.
Before that, Memorial Day was all about the north!
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. The word “decoration” refers to flags and bouquets with which citizens decorated the graves of fallen soldiers. This name wasn’t changed until after World War II.
Why is Memorial Day in May?
The reason we observe Memorial Day in May is because so many flowers bloom this time of year. When this annual observance began, folks couldn’t simply dash over to the florist or grocery store and grab a bouquet to take to the cemetery. They made their own floral arrangements for the most part. So, it made sense to set this holiday during a time when flowers would be available in home gardens.
Memorial Day versus Veteran’s Day
I used to confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day, and I’m not the only one. So here’s the scoop, in case things have gotten fuzzy in your noggin: Memorial Day honors those who died in the military, while Veteran’s Day honors those who served in the military, living or dead.
National Moment of Remembrance
In 2000, “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by our president. This act encourages all US Citizens to spend a minute in silence at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a way to honor all those who have died in military service.
I’ve set my alarm for 3 p.m.
What about you? Will you be taking a minute out of your day at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to remember those who have lost their lives serving our country?
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Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in North Texas travel, cemetery symbols, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas , Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and 100 Things to Do in Dallas - Fort Worth Before You Die.