“Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” – Mary Roach
Memorial Day, previously known for being called “Decoration Day” originated following the Civil War. In 1971, it became an official federal American holiday, a day where we honor both men and women who have fallen while serving and supporting America in the Civil War as art of the U.S. military. Every year, Memorial Day is observed at the start of summer, taking place on the last Monday in May.
It is unknown exactly when or how this special tradition commenced; it is thought that people of various communities might have started memorial gatherings. The Civil War claimed the most lives out of any other conflict that has taken place in America’s history. It was what lead to the start of America’s national cemeteries. Traditions to honor the American military began as early as the 1860s, with the country’s citizens decorating gravestones as a tribute to all fallen soldiers.
Some national records are showing that some of the earliest memorial observations were organized by formerly enslaved groups of people located in Charleston, South Carolina. However, the official birthplace and start of Memorial Day, was declared in 1966, slightly over 100 years after the war, in Waterloo, New York. There the story of this tradition began, where living Civil War veterans were praised and all those who have fallen were honored by Americans gathering and placing flowers to show their acknowledgement.
This Monday, May 31st 2021 is a day for Americans across the nation to remember all of the brave women and men who dedicated their lives to defend and support our country. Whether you observe this meaningful day by gathering with loved ones, paying tribute at a memorial or cemetery, it is the perfect time to come together, proudly raise or fly an American flag, and count blessings while remembering all those who served and fought for the freedom we have today.