Memorial Day History
We all know Memorial Day is day of remembrance for fallen soldiers, although many of us may not remember the origins of this celebrated federal holiday. Originally called Decoration Day, the earliest celebrations of today’s Memorial Day began in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War to honor fallen soldiers. Today we think of Memorial Day more broadly, remembering and honoring all men and women who have died in military service for the United States, across all wars.
Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of the holiday, but in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson designated, Waterloo, New York as the Birthplace of Memorial Day. Be sure to visit the beautiful American Civil War Memorial and the Memorial Day History Museum in Waterloo.
Six Ways to Observe Memorial Day
Memorial Day is the time for remembering family, friends and others who have sacrificed their lives to protect and defend our country. The site “US Memorial Day” suggests ways to observe this day of remembrance and appreciation:
- Visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of the fallen;
- Visit War Memorials;
- Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
“The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.”
(36 USC Sec. 175 [m])
- Fly the ‘POW/MIA Flag‘ as well
(Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act)
- Participate in the “National Moment of Remembrance” established by President Clinton, at 3 p.m. to pause and reflect upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.
- Renew a pledge to support the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen, and to support disabled veterans.
Thank you to our servicemen and women who put their lives in harm’s way to protect and defend the United States.
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