Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day honors the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S military. Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States on the final Monday in the month of May every year. The holiday originated in the years following the Civil War although it wouldn’t become a federal holiday until 1971. The Civil War saw more deaths than any other conflict in U.S. history. This required the establishment of the nation’s first national cemeteries. Various towns and cities began to hold tributes and ceremonies for their fallen loved ones following the war. Although this tradition was celebrated annually since after the Civil War, the federal government declared Waterloo, New York the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Waterloo, New York first celebrated Memorial day on May 5th, 1866. It was chosen as the official birthplace because it hosted annual, community-wide events to honor fallen soldiers. During these days, businesses would close and residents would gather to decorate graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. Originally, the holiday was observed to remember the fallen soldiers from the Civil War, but as time passed and the US found themselves in more wars, the holiday evolved to commemorate all American military personnel who died in all wars, including WWI, WWII, The Vietnam War, The Korean War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Traditionally on Memorial Day, cities and towns across the US hold parades with military personnel. Americans also visit cemeteries and memorials to pay their respects. Many families also take weekend trips or throw parties and barbeques to celebrate the three-day weekend. Unofficially, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer.
Here is a list of 10 ways to honor and observe memorial day 10 Ways To Honor Memorial Day.