Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of U.S military personnel who have died in service to our country. Memorial Day is observed each year on the last Monday of May, and this year, it will be honored on Monday, May 30, 2022.
Memorial Day was said to be first observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers. During the commemoration, former Union Gen. and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers following the end of the Civil War.
It was then found from two early reports in The New York Tribune and The Charleston Courier that one of the earliest commemorations was actually organized by recently freed African Americans in 1865. More than 1,000 people recently freed from enslavement, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered at a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, where more than 250 Union captives died from disease or exposure to the track’s open airfield. They exhumed the mass grave and reinterred the bodies in a new cemetery for a proper burial.
Read More About the History and Early Memorial Day Commemorations HERE
In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established that Memorial Day was to be commemorated on the last Monday of May. After World War I, Memorial Day became an occasion for honoring those who lost their lives in all the America’s wars.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Traditions also include decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags, thus the original name Decoration Day that then evolved to Memorial Day in the late 19th century.
Notable speakers and honor guards pay homage to those who fell on this day. With these ceremonies, rooted in nearly 150 years of tradition, it ensures that the United States will never forget those who died in the armed forces, and it recognizes the sacrifices they have made for the country for which they served.
Check Out Memorial Day Events in Greater Los Angeles HERE
Read About the 8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day HERE
Let us come together this Memorial Day to remember and honor the sacrifices of the hundreds of men and women who gave their lives for the country. Their courage and dedication will never be forgotten,