Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day

Flag at half mast.

Flag at half mast.

Alton, Mo. – Memorial Day is Monday, May 25, 2020. Memorial Day unofficially marks the first day of summer. Although this year is different because of the coronavirus, we can still honor the soldiers who died in war.

Flags

All the flags will be at half-mast on Monday, May 25. The U.S. flags will be at half-mast until noon and then will be raised to the top of the pole for the rest of the day. President Donald Trump said that all the U.S government buildings and military buildings will fly the flag at half-mast from Friday until Sunday’s sunset in honor of those who have died because of the coronavirus.  [1] The flag will be put back up again on Memorial Day.

History

Memorial Day is an American federal holiday set aside every year to honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. This federal holiday was formally known as Decoration Day. Memorial Day was first an official federal holiday in 1971. In 1966, the U.S. government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. On the first Memorial Day, May 20, 1868, General James Garfield gave a speech at Arlington National Cemetary, and over 2,000 people there decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.  [2] Memorial Day first honored only those that died during the Civil War. During World War I, the United States made it so that Memorial Day honored all the soldiers who died in all wars.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, making Memorial Day the last Monday of May, and it also made it a federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.

Observances and Traditions

Americans in various towns honor the fallen soldiers by visiting memorials and cemeteries. They often decorated them with flowers and United States flags. Towns usually hold parades, and some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. Some people also wear red poppies in honor of the fallen soldiers in war.  Some people also have barbeques. Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 pm local time.


Notes:

  1. ^President Trump Orders Flags To Fly At Half-Staff As the U.S. Mourns Nearly 100,000 Dead.” NPR.org, 22 May. 2020. (go back↩)
  2. ^Editors, History. com. “Memorial Day.” HISTORY, 23 May. 2020. (go back↩)

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