Memorial Day 2018 is here and we have a meme gallery in place to honor our country (and the fact that we don’t have to go to work on Monday).
Memorial Day is observed in the United States on the last Monday of May each year. Nobody is 100% sure who celebrated it first but fifty-two years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York the original location of Memorial Day. On May 5, 1866, businesses in Waterloo closed and its residents placed flags and flowers over the graves of their fallen soldiers. That sounds a lot like Memorial Day to me.
In 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, decided that there should be an annual day to commemorate those who died in battle. This day of recognition became known as “Decoration Day” and throughout the late nineteenth century, northern states began to recognize it as an official holiday.
Southern states were not originally on board with Memorial Day; people in the South did not begin to celebrate it until after World War I, when the focus shifted away from the Civil War and became more about honoring all United States soldiers, regardless of which wars they fought in. In 1971, Memorial Day was designated a federal holiday.
Memorial Day serves as a reminder to Americans to respect the people who have died while serving in the U.S. Military and to acknowledge the veterans who have helped protect our country over the years. Today, people generally do this by hosting parades and visiting cemeteries or memorials. The National Memorial Day Parade, held in Washington, D.C., is the largest Memorial Day parade in the country.
It is a free, family-friendly event so that everyone can celebrate. If you do not live near the nation’s capital, you can stream this parade on YouTube or Military.com, or potentially watch it on TV depending on where you live. You can check out the schedule here. However, it might be more fun to attend a local Memorial Day parade. Many cities and towns organize them, so find out how your location is celebrating!
It is important to remember the people who died for our country, but Memorial Day is not all sad. Although the summer solstice on June 21 will mark the official beginning of the summer this year, many people consider Memorial Day a transitional point from spring to summer, making it the unofficial start of our warmest season. Americans throughout the country take advantage of the three day weekend by taking trips to the beach or barbecuing in their backyards, especially if the weather is nice.
What are you waiting for? Start celebrating MEME-orial Day–I mean, Memorial Day–before Tuesday strikes and the fun comes to an end.
If you would like to donate to the American Veterans Center and the World War II Veterans Committee in order to show your support, you can do so here.