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Memorial Day
Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last 
Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while 
serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2020 occurs on 
Monday, May 25. 

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years 
following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday 
in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting 
cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and 
participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning 
of the summer season.

Early Observances of Memorial Day

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed 
more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the 
establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities 
had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless 
fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and 
reciting prayers.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous 
different communities may have independently initiated the 
memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of 
the earliest Memorial Day commemoration was organized by 
a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina less 
than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. 
Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared 
Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was 
chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, 
during which businesses closed and residents decorated the 
graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

Decoration Day

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization 
for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of 
remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is 
designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise 
decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their 
country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in 
almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” 
he proclaimed.

The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because 
it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a 
speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants 
decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate 
soldiers buried there.

Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and 
reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one 
had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, 
on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate 
days until after World War I.

Confederate Memorial Day is still celebrated in several states 
and will be on Sunday, April 26, 2020 in Florida; on 
Monday, April 27, 2020 in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi 
and on May 11, 2020, in parts of South Carolina. The practice 
of commemorating the Confederacy became even more 
controversial after massacre at Emanuel AME Church in 
Charleston in 2015

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, 
originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. 
But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled 
in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate 
American military personnel who died in all wars, 
including World War IIThe Vietnam WarThe Korean War and 
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, 
the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 
1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which 
established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to 
create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change 
went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared 
Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day Traditions

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day 
parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and 
members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest 
parades take place in ChicagoNew York and Washington, D.C.

Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries 
and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance 
of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem
On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or 
throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because 
Memorial Day weekend—the long weekend comprising the 
Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day and 
Memorial Day itself—unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

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A True Friend
Freely Advises,
Justly Assists Readily,
Adventures Boldly,
Takes all Patiently,
Defends Courageously
Continues a Friend Unchangeably.

William Penn

[Image: rO7eOwh.jpg]
A True Friend
Freely Advises,
Justly Assists Readily,
Adventures Boldly,
Takes all Patiently,
Defends Courageously
Continues a Friend Unchangeably.

William Penn

[Image: rO7eOwh.jpg]

I hope Ice won't mind.
Angel  It is Well with My Soul  Angel
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