A Veteran’s Perspective on Memorial Day
What exactly is Memorial Day?
If you read my previous post all about Memorial Day 101, complete with Memorial Day History and etiquette, then you probably are up to speed on exactly what Memorial Day is about. If you haven’t, let me go over a brief history.
Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971, but it has been acknowledged since the Civil War ended. By 1866, following the Civil War, which claimed more American lives than any other conflict in US history, communities started springtime rituals of paying respects to all those who had died. 1868 saw the declaration of Decoration Day by General John A. Logan.
He chose the date specifically because no particular battles took place on that day. By 1890 all states had declared Decoration Day an official state holiday. Eventually, Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day after the USA entered WWI and WWII and the day was changed to honor those fallen in all US wars.
In 1966, Waterloo, NY was declared the official birthplace of Memorial Day, due to their large yearly celebration where business closed and people decorated the graves of fallen soldiers. 1971 saw the change to making Memorial Day an official federal holiday and moving it to the last Monday in May, giving federal employees a three day weekend.
Many don’t realize the history behind the holiday, and it’s not surprising as the last great war ended 72 years ago.
If you had a family member who served, call them up. It can be a difficult day for them. Acknowledge that this isn’t necessarily a day for them, but for those friends that they lost. Tell stories, take a trip to your local museum, or hang a flag.
A Veterans Perspective Of Memorial Day
A lot of vets withdraw from media around Memorial Day.