On May 28, 2018, people across the country will celebrate Memorial Day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many will celebrate with parties, parades and picnics while others gather at cemeteries to lay flowers and flags, and pay their respects.
Did you know that every year on this day, there is an official moment of remembrance at 3:00 p.m. local time?
The holiday dates to the American Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865. A few years later, on the first Decoration Day, as it originally came to be known, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
This is one holiday that did not arise all at once out of some specific event. It grew slowly, organically in the years following the Civil War. By the late 1860s, towns and cities across the country began to hold tributes in the spring for the fallen soldiers. It’s also associated with the unofficial beginning of summer.
In 1966, the federal government proclaimed Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day because it first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866, and because its annual event was for the entire community. Businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
We continue the tradition of honoring those who gave the last full measure of devotion.
We hope you enjoy your holiday weekend, and at 3:00 pm on Monday, you will take a moment to reflect.
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