What’s the Deal about Memorial Day?: The History Behind Memorial Day
Is this scenario familiar to you?
“Yes Memorial Day is finally here!!! Meaning a three-day weekend! Time to relax, catch on some zzz’s; watch some TV, maybe head to the beach with some friends. Dad will be firing up some sexy barbeque ribs on the grill” Yes!!!
Thank You America and our Founding Fathers for this holiday (even though I’m not exactly sure why I have the day off? Wait was it our Founding Fathers that created Memorial Day or was it a president? Probably Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt or probably his “father” Teddy Roosevelt. While on the subject why do we even celebrate Memorial Day?”
Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? No it’s not a preview for summer vacation or a testing day to see if our grills and sunscreen work. And for you conspiracy theorists it’s not some Government gimmick to encourage people sublimely to join the navy. I can’t speak for every American and I don’t know how many “Americans” know the history behind Memorial Day. This hub is meant to give you the brief history of Memorial Day. Hopefully this article will clear up a few things.
Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor Americans who have died while serving our nation. It was originally called Decoration Day, and the actual origins of this day are up for debate.
Even so, it first began around the end of the Civil war on May 30th 1868 to honor the fallen soldiers. Observers decorated and placed flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Though it started in 1868, it wasn't until 1971 under the National Holiday Act passed by Congress that it was officially and nationally recognized as a holiday; celebrated on the last Monday of May. The reason it took so long for this holiday to be recognized was because the Confederate South (southern U.S. states) refused to accept this date and created its own versions of this holiday.
In time refusal died down and slowly but surely Memorial Day became part of the honorary American sentiment. This sentiment includes a poem written by Moina Michael that reads:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
Moina Michael also came up with the idea of wearing red poppy flowers (poppies) to honor those who have died while serving war. She created a business first selling it to friends and it spiral to a worldwide tradition.
More recently other traditions other than poppies and putting flags on graves, have been establish. Congress created the National Moment of Remembrance Resolution in 2000. This act asks that at 3pm on Memorial Day to observe a moment of silence or listening to Taps, the official theme music of this day.
So you now know the general history and importance of Memorial Day. Hopefully this knowledge will make it harder for this holiday to be taken for granted. And if you do take this holiday for granted Moina Michael will rise from her grave and beat you with her red poppies. Yes I’m trying to make you feel guilty for wanting to go to the beach or catching up on some sleep or munch on your dad’s famous barbeque ribs.
The last sentences were obviously a joke; though this statement is not: Have fun Be safe and Keep in Mind the Veterans!!!
And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave. ~Joseph Drake