Happy Memorial Day, Patuxent River! Here Are Some Facts About This Important Holiday
May 30, 2016
Happy Memorial Day! This important holiday is meaningful to all Americans, but it is especially meaningful to the military family. If you want to learn a bit more about the history of Memorial Day, check out these fascinating facts.
- It dates back much, much further than just to the 19th Century. While the origins of Memorial Day in the United States date back to the early 19th Century, its real roots date back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans held public days of remembrance for fallen soldiers, as well as public funerals for soldiers after battles.
- One of the earliest US Memorial Day celebrations was held by slaves. On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves gathered in a Civil War camp to create a proper burial site for the dead soldiers. This also included soldiers who died from the extremely poor conditions at the camp itself.
- It was officially declared a holiday in May of 1868. General John A. Logan of the Union veterans group the Grand Army of the Republic officially declared that Memorial Day would be celebrated on May 30th of every year. He intended for it to honor the 620,000 soldiers killed in the Civil War, and it was originally called "Decoration Day".
- It didn't become a federal holiday until 1971. Despite its widespread observance, Memorial Day wasn't officially recognized by the US government until 1971, when America was in the midst of the Vietnam War. Then, the country recognized the need for a holiday to honor fallen soldiers not only from the Civil War, but also from WWI, WWII and all wars following.
8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day [History Channel]