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Memorial Day Facts

Memorial Day is one that most people celebrate around the grill or at the family campsite because it unofficially means that summer has begun. However, you might not know these fun facts about the annual holiday.

Memorial Day began as a way to honor those who died in the Civil War. The start of the holiday is debatable, however. Some state that it was first devised in Waterloo on May 5, 1866. However, others credit General John A Logan with creating the first Memorial Day on May 30, 1868 to commemorate a Civil War Battle.

At the time, it was known as Declaration or Decoration Day but has since been renamed when it became a federal holiday in 1971. It was a counterpart to veteran’s day, which honors veterans both alive and passed. Now, Memorial Day continues to honor our nation’s fallen service members from every war or conflict, and it happens on the last Monday in the month of May.

Government officials celebrate Memorial Day with a “moment of remembrance” or silence at 3PM. Since the year 2000, Americans across the country are asked to pause in remembrance for one minute at this time. Many businesses and homes will fly their flags at half-mast during the morning. Between noon and sunset, it’s appropriate to raise the flag.

Other people celebrate Memorial Day by purchasing and wearing poppies, an orangey-red flower known for its brightly-colored petals. This tradition started because of the poem “In Flanders Fields.” In some areas, poppies may be laid on the graves of former military members. Others, too, celebrate by watching or visiting the Indianapolis 500, which has been held on Memorial Day for over 100 years.

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