Friday, May 26, 2017

Monday May 29th Is Memorial Day Honor Our Military

Monday
May 29 
Memorial Day 2017 in United States of America
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.[1] The holiday, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May,[2] originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.[3] By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.[1] It marks the start of the unofficial summer vacation season,[4]while Labor Day marks its end.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountain areas. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with relatives and others. There often is a religious service and a picnic-like "dinner on the grounds," the traditional term for a potluck meal at a church. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the "memorial day" idea.[5]
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.[6]
HISTORY
The practice of decorating soldiers' graves with flowers is an ancient custom.[7] Soldiers' graves were decorated in the U.S. before[8] and during the American Civil War. Following President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, there were a variety of events of commemoration. The sheer number of soldiers of both sides who died in the Civil War (more than 600,000) meant that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves had taken shape. In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead.[9]
The Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper claimed in 1906 that Warrenton, Virginia, was the location of the first Civil War soldier's grave ever to be decorated; the date cited was June 3, 1861.[10]There is also documentation that women in Savannah, Georgia, decorated Confederate soldiers' graves in 1862.[11] The 1863 cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was, of course, a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. In addition, local historians in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, claim that ladies there decorated soldiers' graves on July 4, 1864,[12] and Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day.[13]
Historian David W. Blight, citing an observance after the end of the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865, has claimed that "African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina,"[14] based on accounts in the Charleston Daily Courier and coverage by the New York Tribune. But in 2012 Blight stated that he "has no evidence" that the event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.[15] Accordingly, Snopes labels Blight's claims "mostly false."[16]
Despite this ongoing lively debate, there is an "official" birthplace. On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the presidential proclamation naming Waterloo, New York, as the holder of the title. This action followed House Concurrent Resolution 587, in which the 89th Congress had officially recognized that the patriotic tradition of observing Memorial Day had begun one hundred years prior in Waterloo, New York.[17] Snopes also regards the Waterloo legend as apocryphal.[18]

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