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Memorial Day: Remembering History

Life Development Institute, its students, and its staff wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day.

During this time of remembrance, it is important to reflect upon the history of this day and discover why this holiday is not about a day off but about a time to gather with family and friends to celebrate the life that is had together through the sacrifice of others.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day.  This day developed after the Civil War and was made into an official holiday in 1971.  As many know, the Civil War cost the United States more lives than any other war in American history.  Memorial Day finds its roots in Waterloo, NY in 1866.  Two years later, a national day of remembrance was scheduled for May 30, 1868 during which General James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.  Additionally, many other cities held similarly ceremonies wherein persons across the nation decorated the graves of fallen soldiers.

Decoration Day, however, gave way to Memorial Day and represented more than the Civil War.  After World War I, the United States identified Memorial Day as a day to celebrate the sacrifice Americans made in all wars.  True to form, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 until 1968 when congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which provided federal workers with a consistent three-day weekend.  

To celebrate Memorial Day, many locations have parades and ceremonies filled with military and veterans’ organizations.  Additionally, many families will go to cemeteries where loved ones are buried and pay tribute with tears, expressions of gratitude, flowers, and American flags.  Additionally, families and friends take this opportunity to eat and fellowship with each other in appreciation of the freedom afforded by the bravery and selflessness of fellow Americans.

Information obtained in large part from the History Channel via http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history.

This has been a special needs program update from Life Development Institute. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.