For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer but here are some interesting facts you may not know about this Day of Remembrance.
Memorial Day was first celebrated as 'Decoration Day', a day in which Americans everywhere placed wreaths, flowers, and flags on the graves of soldiers who died in defense of this country.
Decoration Day, first observed following the Civil War at the insistence of General John A. Logan, General of the Army of the Republic, was to be celebrated every May 30th. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved this observance to the last Monday in May to facilitate a 3 day weekend but some veterans prefer the original tradition.
A law was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000 that requires all Americans to pause in whatever their pursuit at precisely 3:00 P.M. on Memorial Day to honor America's fallen heroes.
The first speech in honor of this holiday was given by James Garfield, a Civil War general and President of the United States, who said: “If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of 15,000 men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.”
Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia have set aside a day each year in which they honor the fallen Confederate soldier, the bloodiest war America has ever suffered. Only Virginia observes this day of honor on the last Monday of May.