For many people Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Pools open up and people gather around the barbecue for fun celebrations. But it is important to remember why we observe Memorial Day.
The last Monday of May is an official federal holiday honoring men and women who died while serving in the U.S Military. While it is unclear where the tradition originated the holiday now known as Memorial Day had observances dating back to the 1860s after the Civil War claimed many lives and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. In the springtime various towns began to hold tributes for fallen soldiers.
Later, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance. Known as the Decoration Day the purpose was to decorate the graves of those who died in battle. On the first Decoration Day many cities held commemorative event while others continued to honor their dead on various days.
Originally set out to honor those who died in the Civil War the holiday grew to include personnel who died in all wars. The date of the holiday also changed from May 30th to the last Monday in May due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971. That same year Memorial Day was also declared a federal holiday.
Today, cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day celebrations including parades often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Americans also celebrate by visiting cemeteries and memorials or volunteering for organizations.
Our GreenDrop locations will be collecting donations on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart this Memorial Day until 6 p.m. It only takes a few minutes to donate you can stop by on your way to your barbecue or your parade!