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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember and honor those who have died in the nations's Civil War. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan in his General Order No. 11 declaring that:

"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. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."

In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day, and soldiers who had died in other wars were also honored. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season in the United States. Memorial Day Weekend is a three-day holiday that is typified by the first family picnics and barbecues of the year.

[Sources:
Memorial Day - A Look at its History and History.com]

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